ERIKA BIDDLE…..A MOST INTERESTING WOMAN

The plan was to meet Jean Thornton at Dueling Bartenders last night. Bobby Nesbitt the scheduled guest performer. Found Jean at the bar seated next to Erika Biddle.

I probably have run into Erika no more than five times over the years. She is unique. The woman has tasted much of life. Both good and bad.

Erika was born in Germany in the years immediate following World War II. Though having avoided the war itself, she remembers clearly the destroyed cities, the debris, etc. waiting for reconstruction. Recovery was slow.

She recalls going without food. The lack of food experience was evident later in the evening when we dined at Antonia’s. I never saw a plate so clean at the end of a meal.

Erika came to Key West in 1994 after living in several cities around the world. She was immediately aware Key West was for her. She once said regarding Key West, ” This was the only city I ever visited where I’m not the most eccentric person around. Here I’m the normal one.”

Her eccentricity best reflected in a nudie calendar venture she put together. An avid environmentalist, Erika came up with a way to raise money for environmental purposes.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once mentioned something to the effect that the environmental cause was best reflected by a nude woman. Soon after, an English movie came out where a bunch of elderly English women needing money for a charity did a nudie calendar of themselves.

Erika was emboldened. She convinced 15 Key West ladies to agree posing for a nudie calendar. Titled: Women Sustaining the Earth. The women between 44 and 78 years of age. All lovely. The calendar tastefully done.

Sold well!

Erika’s life or parts thereof great book material.

It rained for 2 hours early in the afternoon. Big time! Roaring thunder! Brought to mind Zeus, ancient Greece’s sky and thunder god. King of Mount Olympus.

The Key West Citizen’s weather person a humorist.  Yesterday’s prediction: Mostly cloudy, a shower; free car wash. The shower could have been better described. It was a monsoon! The “free car wash” right on. My car shiny bright after the sun dried it off.

I am ahead of the game time wise re my next KONK Life column. This week’s already done and at the printers. It is titled Sit At Attention Or Die. A bit of Kim/Trump. It is the article for a week from tomorrow that I was working on.

A change of pace topic. Felt compelled to get away from Trump. Environmental. About sand. As with water, in short supply world wide. Hard to believe.

Sand is the new gold.

I read yesterday that recent wind storms have affected Florida’s sandy beaches drastically. The sand loss described as Gone With The Wind.

An interesting article in the making.

The music at Dueling Bartenders the best. Always is. Bobby, Tom Luna and Rick Dery made the walls shake.

Bobby recently married Mike Mulligan. They had lived together 37 years. About time! In honor of the nuptials, Bobby sang I’m Getting Married In The Morning from My Fair Lady.

Jean, Erika and Louis walked over to Antonia’s for dinner. Jean and Erika interesting women. I enjoyed being with them.

Diseases come and go. Initially death causing and then man finds the pill/shot making it possible to avoid the sickness.

Yellow fever was a major killer in the mid 1800’s. The Citizen’s Keys History section mentioned that on this date in 1865, the vessel Adventure arrived in Key West in distress. Four crew members had yellow fever. The four were taken to the Marine Hospital.

The yellow fever spread from the four to Army troops stationed in Key West. Three hundred thirty one cases. Seventy one died. The number of civilians infected and dead not recorded.

A thought. Mull it. Conservative Americans are all about family – unless the family has darker skin and is from another country.

Child abuse in the news constantly these days. The immigrant children taken from parents. The abuse takes other forms and occurs on a smaller scale around the country.

An undocumented mother lives in San Antonio with her 4 year old daughter. A San Antonio Sheriff deputy was having sex with the four year old. Apparently on a regular basis.

The four year old told her mother over the weekend. The mother confronted the officer. He did not deny. He made it clear however that if she told anyone, she would be deported.

Fearing the police, the mother went to a fire station and told the fire officers what was going on. The deputy was arrested yesterday.

What is occurring on the border sick. What happened to this four year old equally sick.

Tonight, my podcast show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine sharp. A quick half hour of me pontificating about anything that tickles my interest. Provocative. Eye opening. Guaranteed you will enjoy.

Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

CHE A NO SHOW

Several of us were at the Chart Room at 5 yesterday to visit with Che. An old friend, Chart Room cohort, one who has an empty hole in the bar awaiting his ashes, a first class debater in any friendly argument, a man soon to be 84.

The meeting had been arranged by Jean Thornton. Che has become a recluse in recent months. His health failing. He would not open his door if someone knocked. We wanted to visit with him.

No Che. Failed to appear. Probably decided he simply did not want to do it. No problem. Che has earned the right to call them as he sees them.

We sat at the round table and enjoyed ourselves. Jean, David, Cori, Nic, Captain Frank, Valerie, Lisa, and Louis. Later, Quincy Perkins showed up.

Jean made a batch of deviled eggs and brought them for all to enjoy.

Later, Jean and I had dinner together at Hot Tin Roof. Sheila bartending.

Jean and I are a match. We get along well. I consider her a benefactor. Escaped Irma by staying at her home in Birmingham for 12 days.

The Ocean Key House pier was severely damaged by Irma. The contractor waited six months to get back to Ocean Key that he could not do the job for the price bid. Another company has stepped in. They are swiftly working. A huge crane, huge wood posts, etc. I understand the entire pier is going to be redone in concrete.

My sunday afternoon was spent writing this week’s KONK Life column. Sit At Attention Or Die. A Kim/Trump tale. Mostly, Kim. It hits the stands wednesday evening.

The article was well researched and wrote swiftly. I had time left over. Skimmed the internet a bit to determine what the following week’s article will be.

Came up with the subject! Sand! The world is running out of sand. A black market has developed. I did some preliminary research. Interesting.

What a difference 100 years make! Price of Key West Hotel rooms.

In 1914, the Panama Hotel was located at the corner of Eaton and Elizabeth Streets. A new hotel. Running water in each room. A big deal! Rates $1.00, $1.50, and $2.00.

A sad situation. Paul Donnelly was the Key West Citizen Controller. In a management restructuring in March, Paul was one of the those let go.

Paul got in trouble last thursday in Plainview, Michigan. He robbed a bank. Walked up to a teller, handed her a note saying this is a robbery and my bag contains a bomb.

Paul walked out with $4,700. Eight hours later, he was arrested without incident.

Paul was in Plainview visiting relatives. The relatives claim Paul was suicidal, the bank robbery a call for help, he was fighting alcoholism, the sudden loss of his job had affected him, and he had recurring problems from a brain tumor.

Several years ago, I wrote a KONK Life article re Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. The Waterloo battle was waged this day in 1815.

I discovered in my research at the time that the popular reason for Napoleon’s defeat was not correct. It was not the genius of the Duke of Wellington, though his military prowess probably did make some contribution.

Napoleon had hemorrhoids. They were extremely painful the night before. He doped himself with some narcotic that evening and in the late morning when he woke to kill the pain. He overslept. Did not get to the battlefield till just before noon. The battle had started in the early morning.

He could not sit comfortably on his horse. As a result, he did not move around the battlefield to personally view and assess conditions.

The battle was lost early evening.

My research clearly indicated it was the hemorrhoids that did him in.

The immigration children problem disturbs me as it must most of you. Children separated from parents. Sort of a Sophie’s choice, though not as final.

Totally un-American. Not what good people do. I am ashamed my country is doing this.

The problem has to be resolved like yesterday. Realistically, by the end of this week.

How would Trump have felt if his three oldest when young were taken from him and his wife in a fashion similar to what is occurring at the borders? Or, Barron today?

Cock fighting in the lower Keys was a big deal back when. Perhaps even today. I recall a few years ago a group was arrested for involvement with cock fighting.

BOB reports British Peter had a cock fighting experience.

The time would have been the mid 1990’s. Peter was driving cab for a living. New to the job. Got a call asking if he would go to Rockland Key to pick up a fare. Peter jumped at the chance. The fare $17 plus tip.

He picked up 3 young boys each with a paper bag on a side road off US 1. They asked to be taken to Bahama Village. Made sure they had money to pay. Started up and reached the intersection with US 1.

All of a sudden, a huge truck was behind the cab. Lights glaring, horn blowing, and the driver waving out the window. Peter had no idea what was going on. He immediately called for help. The Sheriff’s Department arrived in 2 minutes.

The guy in the tuck ran to the cab. The boys jumped out and ran onto US 1 emptying their bags as they ran. They assumed the chickens would run into the woods. Not so. The chickens were fighters. They engaged in a mammoth cock fight on US 1 in front of the Sheriff Deputies.

The guy in the truck was arrested. The kids taken into custody. The chickens collected.

A problem arose. The Sheriff/County had no place to keep the chickens pending trial. Evidence. They solved the problem in Key West fashion. The chickens were turned over to the now defendant truck driver who they assumed knew how to safeguard them.

BOB does not tell  us how the case ended. Was there a trial? Were the chickens produced? I doubt it. These chickens were lucky if they saw the light of day following the incident.

The situation bothered Peter. He put a sign in his cab: No Rockland County trips, no Rockland County residents.

Dueling Bartenders tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BRITISH PETER

Bob Smith shares the Key West of the 1990’s in his book BOB. One character of that time and still alive is Peter. Commonly known as British Peter.

I was fortunate to know Peter. As many today who still enjoy the Chart Room. It was the Chart Room where we all met and became friends.

Peter was British through and through. Appearance wise, tall, thin, with a white mustache. His accent decidedly British. His demeanor conservative. BOB says “a more polite and erudite fellow you will never meet.”

Peter for many years lived on a sailboat. Moored it 2 miles out into the Gulf. Used a dingy to go back and forth. One night, Peter had a bit too much to drink. A moonless evening. He went out to return to his sailboat.

He left the dingy when he thought he was at his boat. He was not. Dingy floated away. Peter floating. Had to find the boat or die. He swam around a while and fortunately bumped into his boat.

Another Peter tale involves his world travels. He was somewhere in the Pacific off a small island on a sailboat. Pirates came upon him in the dark of night intending to rob and perhaps kill him.

Peter no slouch. Always prepared. He shot and killed one of the pirates before leaping off his boat and swimming to shore. As Peter tells the story, he fully anticipated the pirates to find him the next day and kill him for having killed one of their own.

Peter was off the island as dawn broke.

BOB talks about Bob running into the Peter at the West Indies Lounge on one occasion. I do not recall the place nor could I find it on the internet. However, I am sure it was den of inequity with Peter and Bob observing, not participating.

Peter no longer with us in Key  West. He had inherited a home in the State of Washington years ago. Five years ago, he decided to move to the home and spend the rest of his days there. Peter has returned at least 3 times over the years to visit.

BOB shares another Peter story. One involving Rockland Key and cock fighting chickens. Saved for tomorrow.

One of Peter’s closest Chart Room buddies was Che. They discussed everything. Argued a better description. Che an in your face type. Peter would not let him get away with anything.

Che now 85. Ailing. None of us have seen him at the Chart Room in at least 6 months. He has become a recluse.

Jean Thornton thought it was time he got out. She has arranged for Che to be at the Chart Room at 5 this afternoon to meet and greet friends.

Che has a distinction. One of the holes in the Chart Room bar bears his name. He is one of two remaining alive. A portion of his ashes will be deposited in the bar when he passes on.

Spent yesterday afternoon researching this week’s KONK life column. Ten pages of notes. Not sure of the title yet. The topic involves Kim and Trump. Kim’s background emphasized. Trump is in bed with a dog who has fleas.

I will write the article this afternoon.

Snuck out for an hour for a pedicure and manicure with Tammy. Love Tammy! Respect and admire she and her husband Ricky’s success. They deserve it!

Last night, the Chart Room. Met Mary Anne. Has lived in Key West since 1990. We never met before. Amazing!

A small world. Mary Anne knows Bear. And, Donna and Terri. Mary Anne is the assistant manager at the Lower Keys Animal Clinic on Kennedy. A vet’s office. The Doc Bear’s vet.

Cori Convertino stopped by to say hello. Talented. Hard working. She is actually Dr. Cori Convertino. Has a Ph.D. She is in charge of the exhibits at the Custom House. Ever changing, time absorbing to erect. Each one a “work” in itself.

Jenna! My love! We have not seen each other in months. My fault. She calls, I am too busy. Accidentally saw her last night.

Jenna and her beau stopped in for a drink before seeing a movie at Tropic Cinema. We swore we would get together soon. Very soon!

Read an interesting report this morning. A recent study shows millionaires now control half of the world’s wealth.  Personal wealth globe wise in 2017 totaled $201.9 trillion. Up 12 percent from 2016.

The rich getting a lot more richer and doing it a lot faster.

Happy Father’s Day to all who will be remembered and to all who will not. Life moves in strange ways.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

BOB WISDOM RE HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS

Bob Smith was an oracle of wisdom. He wrote BOB in the mid 1990’s, sharing his thoughts with the world.

Today, BOB and hurricanes.

My sense is naming hurricanes and following their path on TV was a relatively new thing in the 1990’s. BOB thought they gave a feeling of preparedness. A false feeling. Hype had nothing to do with being ready for 100 mile plus winds and rain.

He felt Hurricane Andrew in 1992 proved his point.

Evacuation always important. Many failed to leave. Almost always. Traffic extremely slow, not enough gas, etc.

BOB had the solution. Airlift Key West residents out. Like the Berlin airlift. The federal government could label the program the Florida Keys Evacuation Plan.

FEMA was not doing a good job. Useless. My observation is that FEMA improves with every hurricane. However 26 years after Andrew, still do not have it down.

BOB believed FEMA would never improve.

BOB disparaged politicians big time. Tiny brains. Did not know how to get the job done: “I have long since abandoned the idea that reason rules with these clowns.”

I took it easy yesterday. The previous 3 days had been hectic.

Began with a walk up and down White Street. Should be referred to as the new White Street. Many buildings remodeled. All type new businesses opened and opening. Exciting.

Then lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Situated right in the middle of White Street. It has become one of my favorite lunch haunts. I sit quietly, read the newspapers, and enjoy Cuban cheese toast with tomato and Cuban coffee.

Last night, a late one for me. I am usually in bed by 9. Last night, 12:30!

My evening began late. Bria Ansara’s birthday party was 8-10 at Bourbon St. Got there 8:30. Crowd building. By the time I left an hour later, the place was jam packed. People dancing, singing, waving their arms.

Bria entertaining. A lovely woman. Magnificent. A talented vocalist.

Saw her in a different light last night. Normally, I get to see and hear Bria at Berlin’s on the weekend. She sings on those evenings a lot of tunes from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. Music for oldies like me. Music from my time. The music of most Berlin customers.

Bourbon St. last night, A much younger crowd. No one even close to my 82 years. They were whooping it up. Bria leading them.

A lot of people I knew. Many from Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. Many women who perform in Key West, also. Fantasy Fest Queen Destiny, one of the bartenders from Berlin’s, Guy de Boer, Chris the photographer, Erin, and others I recognized but whose names I could not recall.

Since I wasn’t dancing, singing or whooping it up to today’s music, I left after an hour. Decided to stop at the Chart Room.  Glad I did.

Ollie was holding court at the end of the bar. A Key West icon.

Met Mandy and Gene. Ollie introduced us. Spent 2 hours chatting with them.

Gene originally from Syracuse. Grew up in Camillus, a small community adjoining Syracuse. Mandy and Gene today live in Smeltfield, Virginia. The home of Smeltfield Ham and Bacon.

They have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren.

Gene still working. An industrial designer. He designs aircraft carriers. I was impressed.

Mandy retired. However her work background equally impressive. She spent her career working with the Navy and Coast Guard at their highest echelons.

We talked about everything. They hope to return for Fantasy Fest. Have never seen it.

I liked their attitudes. They are both 60. Kids educated and gone. They are ready to live.

Go for it!

My drive to Bria’s party found me on North Roosevelt Boulevard at the right time. There before me was the setting sun. A huge yellow ball. Caught the sun just as it was cutting the horizon.

A benefit of living in Key West.

I intend for today to be another Louis day. Only thing scheduled is a haircut with Lori at noon. Going to try to schedule a manicure and pedicure for later in the afternoon.

It’s a good life!

Enjoy your day!

 

POST SUMMIT THOUGHTS

I am addicted to politics and world events. I am paying for it this morning. I remained awake most of the night watching the Singapore Summit. Trump’s press conference was 4 am.

My first thought is I should have gone to sleep. I am dead! Laid in bed till 9. Here it is after 11 and I am just beginning the blog. Still have to prepare for tonight’s podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Be awake and sharp while I do the show.

What a day it’s going to be!

Talk is better than fury and fire. Trump and Kim agreed on nothing significant. The joint agreement said nothing. Denuclearization danced around.

However, the two met. They are now friends. Trump invited Kim to Washington. The world’s worst dictator has come front stage. They will engage in telephone chats. Things kumbaya. At least for a while.

Not enough for Trump to win the Nuclear Peace Prize. A meet and greet insufficient. A promise to denuclearize was required. The man who deserves the Prize is Moon Je, President of South Korea. He is the person who got the ball rolling resulting in the Summit.

One final thought. Trump was not ready. He has to prepare for these meetings. He requires a knowledgeable staff to guide him. Trump’s personality, good or bad, insufficient when it comes to the details.

So no misunderstanding exists, I consider the Summit a failure, except that now two leaders have come to know each other and will communicate.

Success may come re nuclear weapons. Down the road, however.

History tells us of a major success that began as a failure.

Reagan and Gorbachev met in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1987. They were unable to agree on anything of importance. Nothing was signed. The Summit was considered a failure.

Reagan and Gorbachev however began to talk informally. They now knew each other. Those talks paved the way to the eventual end of the Cold War and at that time the threat of nuclear war.

My KONK Life column several weeks ago was titled: I’m The President, Aren’t I?” Concerned Reagan’s speech at the Berlin Wall. In front of Brandenburg Gate.

Reagan and aides had worked on the speech for several weeks. Reagan wrote what he considered a strong line in the speech: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” His top advisers thought the sentence too strong. Wanted it out. It came out. Reagan would put it back in. This back and forth continued.

It was the morning of the speech. Reagan in a quandary. The line out. He still wanted it in.

He had a conversation with Deputy Chief of Staff Duberstein.

Reagan: I’m the President, aren’t I?

Duberstein: Yes, sir, Mr. President. We’re clear about that.

Reagan: So I get to decide whether the line about tearing the wall                       down stays in?

Duberstein: That’s right, sir. It’s your decision.

Reagan: Then it stays in.

A dramatic moment. I recall watching Reagan on TV. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Two and a half years later, the wall came down.

Big trees from little acorns grow. The Singapore Summit could result in good. Or, not. Time will tell. One thing certain. Trump and Kim must continue to talk if good is to be accomplished.

My podcast tonight. Join me. Nine o’clock.  A quick half hour of my ramblings, sharing thoughts, etc. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

The show must be good. Or at least, interesting. My numbers keep going up. The show has acquired national advertisers.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN VISITS

Finally met Barb last night. Iowa Barb. A devout blog reader. She had written she would be visiting Key West and wanted to meet. Also wanted me to sign her copy of Irma and Me.

We finally got together last night at the Chart Room.

Barb a charming woman. She has been a librarian for 39 years at the Iowa State University Library. Has visited Key West 9 times in the past 10 years. Loves Key West! Knows her way around.

Interested in politics. Dislikes Trump. Understandable. Her father was a Teamster for years.

Her sister Debbie with her. Debbie’s first Key West visit. She is the Cambridge, Iowa City Clerk. Made sure to tell me her politics were different from her sister’s. Debbie a black hearted Republican.

I had not planned on going out last night. Spent the afternoon researching for this week’s KONK Life column. Rudy Giuliani’s recent comments about Stormy Daniels motivated me to look up Giuliani’s sex history. People in glass houses should not throw stones.

My intent was to write the column last night. It has to be to the publisher today.

John called and said a Barb was looking for me. Would I come down? Ergo, I will not be writing about Giuliani and his sexcapades till this afternoon.

My today a busy one. Have to finish the blog. Watch Robert in a tennis competition at one. Write the Giuliani column.

I definitely will not be going out tonight.

Dorothy Downs was at the bar. I have not seen her in a couple of years. Her husband was a dentist. He had an office in Miami and one in the Keys. They frequented the Chart Room often.

Dorothy told he her husband had passed away last year. Sad.

We talked at length. I learned more about her last night than in all the times we had met previously.

She is a writer. Five books. Dorothy is an art historian, specialist in American art, wrote and produced the PBS documentary Pillars of Power about Seminole and Miccosukee women.

Dorothy’s most recent book is Canoe Back In Time. The story of a special Miccosukee girl who was given the gift of being an artist.

The book is selling.

My handwriting is poor. Dorothy’s worse. She wrote down her e-mail address for me. Impossible to read. Dorothy, you have mine. Write me soon so I will have yours.

Three pirates came in. Two men and a woman. One of the guys was soon asleep head down on a table. They had been doing the Duval Crawl.

I spoke with the two sober ones. Explained I had recently written about the pirate Black Caesar and also the pirates of Port Royal.

The three were part of a pirate group. A nightly thing in Key West. Called Eat Drink Discover Key West. An eat and drink venture.

Sounds interesting. If you are, the group can be booked online at www.EatDrinkDiscoverKeyWest.com.

Everyone was gone, except for Kevin and me. We chatted a while. He is recovering well from his horrendous accident.

Needed to eat. Stopped at Hogfish on the way home. Sat at the bar and enjoyed hogfish. What else!

It began pouring on the way to Hogfish. Continued raining when I left. Fortunately, I am always prepared for rain. Two umbrellas. One at home and one in the car. Large black ones.

A BOB comment about waking in Key West: “A cat fight has set off the dogs. The dogs have set off the roosters. The din moves back and forth across the island in waves. Human sounds join in. There is no way anyone is sleeping through this, that’s it, I’m awake…..it looks like a nice day. Another beautiful day in Paradise.”

The Belmont later today. Hope Justify wins.

Trump’s words yesterday re his summit meeting with Kim and the degree of his preparation: “I’ve prepared my entire life for the North Korea summit.”

I worry.

Trump is on a high. He has screwed up G7. He is on his way to meet with Kim. He figures the world and the Nobel Peace Prize are his if he succeeds with Kim.

I do not see it happening.

Weather around 90 this past week. Heavy humidity. Weather man says some thunder today. Describes it as “rock ‘n’ roll thunder.”

As Porky Pig was wont to say at the end of his cartoons of yesteryear…..That’s all folks!

Enjoy your day!

 

ROBERT GRADUATES MONTESSORI

Catch up time. Two days of blogs in one. My comments limited to local happenings. I leave Trump and world events to another day.

The most important happening was Robert’s graduation yesterday from Montessori. In August, he will start high school.

Robert turned 14 two weeks ago. He is tall and thin, good looking. A radiating smile. Excellent student, excellent tennis player.

A good boy.

It was 14 years ago less two weeks that Robert was in Miami Children’s hospital. Within hours of being born. He had been born with cancer of the liver.

Two major surgeries the first two weeks of his life. He stands tall and healthy today anxious to move on to the next phase of his life.

God bless.

A conflict in the Malcom household yesterday. Ally’s 13th birthday. On the same day as Robert’s graduation. Ally did not like sharing HER day. She celebrates with her girl friends tomorrow night with a sleep over. The family Happy Birthday sunday following dinner.

Poppa loves you Ally. Happy Birthday!

Lets begin with thursday.

Haircut with Lori. Always a pleasant experience. Roughly seventeen years she has been my “barber.”

Followed by lunch at Sandy’s Cafe a few doors down White Street from Lori’s Blown Away.

Began thursday evening with a Meet and Greet party at Dan and Stephanie’s condo on Simonton. The candidate Greg Daniels. He is running for Utility Board Seat D.

If you live between Big Pine and Key West you can vote for Greg. He has deep utility/power experience. Close to 20 years worth.

I had only met Greg one time before. At the Chart Room several years ago. His wife Donna an accountant in Key West.

Donna is from my former home town Utica. Reason enough to vote for her husband Greg. One more reason. The most important. Both Donna and I married into the same family. Her former husband and my former wife were cousins. We survived the marriages and divorces to now live better lives in Paradise.

From the Meet and Greet, I went to the Chart Room. Glad I did! David was there! Not Chart Room David. Don’s Place’s David.

I have not seen David in several months. One of the good guys of the world. Built like and looks like Santa Claus. Has Santa’s heart. Always there to lend a helping hand.

David was at the Chart Room with his friend Robbie. They are soon off to Cozumel for a vacation. Robbie’s sister Karen was visiting and with them.

Also at the Chart Room were Phil and Nichole from Auburn, Alabama. Originally from the Chicago area.

Interesting people. Especially Phil. Phil was a banker for 25 years. Decided to change jobs. Finally did what he wanted to do from the beginning. Teach school. Took a few courses to qualify and now serves as a high school teacher.

Nichole a human relations manager.

A 52 year old homeless man ended his life thursday afternoon. He tied a rope to the railing of the Cow Key Bridge and jumped.

I think it takes more courage to kill one’s self than remain living.

Friday morning was Robert’s graduation. Two items require comment.

The event was held in the Commission Chambers of the new City Hall. Outstanding room! Worth the money! Key Westers can take pride!

The other comment concerns Trump. He complains of immigrants. He is a racist. He should have been at the graduation. Most of the graduates’ names were difficult to pronounce. Literally came from all parts of the world. As to color, tan predominated.

This is the world of today. The graduates represent America’s leaders of tomorrow. Whatever Trump may want, he cannot mold America into what he and his small band of followers might desire.

Back to Sandy’s Cafe. Convenient. Two blocks from City Hall.

At one, Emil La Voche’s funeral service at the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. A long name. Key West’s Catholic Church.

I only came to know Emil this past year. We met when I joined the Sons and Daughters of Italy. A quiet man. Appeared well liked by all. He led us in prayer and Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each meeting.

I learned of his distinguished background only after reading his obituary. Emil spent 31 years in the U.S. Army. Retired a Lt. Colonel. Fought in Korea and Vietnam. Twice parachuted into battle.

After retiring from the military, he joined the Sheriff’s Department. Retired from that position after 25 years. Did not stop him from continuing. He followed the 25 years with another 9 helping out at the Sheriff’s Department as a reserve deputy.

The Church was packed. The parking lot and surrounding streets crowded with cars.

The number paying homage to Emil can best be described in one word: Respect. He was deserving of it.

A dinner party last night at Donna and Terri’s. Donna cooking, of course. What a cook! A culinary expert! The Julia Child of Key West!

George and Art were dinner guests also. George and Art have a new dog. A small black bull dog. Two weeks younger than Bear who is growing at a rapid rate. Now, huge.

The two played terrifically with each other all night. Like little kids. Best of friends.

Speaking of Julia Child, I recall seeing her kitchen when I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The Museum recreated her kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts exactly as it was.

One housekeeping item. A screw up re my KONK Life column.

This week’s should have been The FBI of Today The Jews of Yesterday. Will not be. Last week’s column was the Right To Declare War. When it was being printed, the last 25 percent was omitted. The best part from my perspective. I described Trump and Kim’s words at the time as being who had the bigger dick.

To correct the omission, KONK Life reprinted the War Declaration article in its entirely this week. The FBI/Jews article will not appear till next week.

KONK Life also publishes for the internet its daily E-Blast. The FBI/Jews article did appear in yesterday’s E-Blast if you wish to read it early.

WordPress has begun publishing my KONK Life column on my Facebook page. You can find the article there now.

Enjoy your day!

 

JEAN THORNTON RETURNS

Jean Thornton is back! Following a one month European trip with husband Joe.

Jean in Key West for three weeks. Joe back home in Birmingham working.

Ran into Jean last night at the Chart Room. She got in the day before. Took her four days to fly from Birmingham to Key West. Alberto to blame. She made it to Atlanta the first time only to return to Birmingham.

The European trip was grand. They saw everything. Interestingly, never tired.

Jean is the best! She was my hostess for 12 days when I was escaping Irma. She took in 7 evacuees and 3 dogs from Key West.

Jean is Key West famous. She is referred to as the Key West Golden Girl. Some years ago while diving with Mel Fisher, she came upon gold and emeralds. Changed her life!

Love you, Jean! Everyone in Key West does!

The Chart Room busy last night. John bartending. Sheila and Kevin at opposite ends of the bar. Dan and Stephanie came in. From Ohio. they have rented a condo in Key West for a month. We met last week. At the Chart Room, of course.

Tonight, Dan and Stephanie are having a Meet and Greet for candidate Greg Daniels in the courtyard of their residence at 619 Simonton Street. From 5:30-7:30. Drop in and say hello to Greg.

Jean introduced me to Adam. From England. A frequent Key West visitor over the years.

A quick trip to Publix following the Chart Room. Cupboard really  bare. Down to bottled water.

The Key West edition of the Florida Weekly selected Tom Luna as Bartender of the Week. The article refers to Tom as “Key West Royalty.” He is.

Tom has been a Key Wester for 30 years. Well loved by everyone. He is half of the Dueling Bartenders who perform monday nights at Aqua. The rest of the week he is tending bar at the Marker Resort.

I am always learning. Luna’s article revealed to me that Tom initially had been a ballet dancer. Trained and so educated. Performed professionally for years.

I am smiling as I type the following: It would be amusing to see Tom in tights today. He has put on a few pounds.

Alberto did do some damage to southwest Florida beaches. Alberto landed further north. However, the water was in turmoil all the way down to the Keys.

Affected on the beaches were turtle nests. Each containing many eggs. The nesting season began May 1. Some nests were washed away, others drowned in water.

Three brave guys. I refer to the three who kayaked from Cuba to Stock Island. In not the best of weather.

The three left Cuba 7:15 in the morning. An overnighter. They arrived on Stock Island 10:30 the next morning. The trip took 27 hours, 12 minutes, 30 seconds. A new record for solo rowing without stopping and resting.

The weather is getting better. Slowly. Still raining. Not as much. The sun sneaked  in a few times yesterday, but not for long. The day gray.

Weather reports tell us the sun will return for sunday and monday.

I love it when merchants check $100 and $20 bills. Too many counterfeits around. There was a time bills were not involved. Nickels were the big thing in the counterfeiting trade.

Today’s Key West Citizen’s Keys History section reported that on this day in 1890 counterfeit nickels were being passed in Key West.

The Trump/Kim Summit still on for June 12. Kim seems to be bending over backwards to make sure the Summit proceeds.

Stomach diplomacy involved.

Kim is aware of Trump’s love of the American fast burger. He wished he could have had the time to arrange for an American burger chain  to open in Pyongyang. As a “show of good will.”

Two things are certain. Without fail. Death and change.

Change upon us again. Sears announced early this morning it was closing 72 more stores. The list of stores will be posted later in the day.

The mighty fall. I can recall how unbelievable to me it was when years ago Eastern Airlines closed down. A major U.S. airline. How could it be, I thought.

The next major closing that blew me out was Montgomery Ward.

Change is the way of the world.

This week’s KONK Life is on the stands. Pick up a copy. My article this week one of the best I have written. Much research and thought into it. The column: The FBI of Today The Jews of Yesterday.

Have to hustle. A late morning haircut with Lori.

Enjoy your day!

 

MILE HIGH CLUB DANGEROUS

Sex in the sky! On an airplane, of course. Referred to as the Mile High Club.

I always wanted to try it. In my working days, I generally flew first or business class. Many overnight flights. Would have been easy to accomplish. My wife disagreed. Thought I was crazy.

At 82, I can look back and say there is not much I have missed. Reluctantly, the Mile High Club is one.

Apparently, the deed on a commercial flight is now considered criminal. A 48 year old woman and 28 year old man met on a Delta flight recently. She orally copulated him. They were arrested on landing.

Today being a holiday, I filled some prescriptions yesterday. Walgreens first. Then to Sandy’s Cafe for lunch. The usual. Cuban cheese toast with tomato. Dripping in butter. To die for!

My cell phone was not working. Stopped at Verizon in the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center. Sim card dirty. The young lady knew immediately. Took it out and cleaned it with an eraser on the end of a pencil. Amazing!

Watched Cavaliers/Celtics game 7. For the right to go to the NBA Finals. Celtics favored. Cavaliers won 87-79.

LeBron James responsible. He carried his team all the way! Scored 35 points. Many assists. A couple of blocked shots. He did it all!

The Cavaliers won because they were experienced. Had been there before. Did not falter when down 12 points in the first quarter.

The Celtics an excellent team. Need seasoning, however. As the game went on, their youth was evident. Too many mistakes that only time teaches a player not to make.

The Celtics’ Jayson Tatum only 20 years old. A star already! What a future he has ahead of him.

This will be the 8th consecutive NBA Final that LeBron James will be playing in.

SH*T SHOW. A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie LeDuff. He was on Morning Joe today.

LeDuff views America in crisis. He shares places and happenings reflecting the same. From Ferguson to Flint to Trump’s unstoppable campaign for President.

He talked how Trump during the campaign was suggesting a return to 1950’s type living. Actually, LeDuff said it would have been the 1990’s. Not enough people around who remember the 1950’s.

I do. My college and law school years. The time I married. My son born. Bought my first car. People employed. Etc. Good years. I have always recalled them fondly. Everything kumbaya. I have mentioned the 1950’s in the past as a good time to have lived in the U.S. The Eisenhower years.

Today, Memorial Day.

No Key West parade. I checked throughout the Keys. No parades anywhere. Many commemorative events, however.

A day when the graves of those who died for their country are decorated with flowers.

The custom interestingly began back in the Civil War. Both sides did it. The decorating and remembrance that went with it continued and grew to what it is today. Whether the 1860’s or today, emotions the same.

Tonight, Aqua for Dueling Bartenders.

Obama spoke wednesday in Las Vegas at a technology conference hosted by Okata, the identity security company. He said, “America may not survive.”

He added, “I think the big challenge today is how we maintain a sense of common purpose rather than splinter or divide. We are seeing this debated on social media every day, but if we don’t figure it out then our society and democracy may not survive…..part of our polarization is that if you watch Fox News all day, or read the New York Times, you are occupying two different realities.”

Alberto still on the move. Has not made landfall yet. Continues to aim for the Panhandle. Other parts of Florida and other States subject to heavy rains and flash flooding.

It has already rained heavy 2 times this morning in Key West.

Ellicott City, Maryland experienced disaster yesterday. Unexpected. Six inches of rain in two hours. Rivers overflowing, rampaging. Cars swept away. Rising water reaching the third floor of some homes.

Google News is running a video. Find it and see first hand. I could not believe what my eyes beheld. Water running down streets 1 or 2 stories high. Cars being lifted and swept away.

I am beginning to think someone upstairs is trying to tell us something.

Key West gas prices the past 3 hours from $3.10 to $3.15 a gallon. Predicted to go higher over the summer. Experts say the blame falls on Saudi Arabia who decided to curb production in 2016 so prices would rise.

I recall the Saudis as “our friends” who gave us $4 a gallon gasoline.

Trump/Iran not significant in the price increase. Only 3-5 cents.

Student loans always in the news. Some high. Higher than I thought.

Mike Mera is 37. An orthodontist. Borrowed $600,056 for his education. Now owes in excess of $1 million. He makes his monthly payment religiously. $1,589.97. Will never get ahead. The interest is $130 a day. Per month, $3,9000.

He’s not the only one. One hundred one borrowers owe in excess of $1 million.

I am not a bird expert. One who is is an ornithologist. I looked up the word.

The reason is this past week I discovered two birds living in my walled yard. Bigger than a sparrow, smaller than a pigeon. Shades of brown.

They obviously are a couple. They are together all day. Generally sit on a wood bench in the corner next to each other. Rarely move. Never fight.

Enjoy your holiday!

 

 

 

KICK BALL IN MYSTIC…..INDIAN HEADS USED

Several times over the years, the Puritan/Pequot Indian battles have come to my attention. The battles interesting for various reasons. Each time I have written about them.

Today, I again write concerning one of the battles. To evidence the Christian souls of the early Puritans. Supposedly God fearing. I doubt however they were listening to God when they acted in Mystic in 1637.

The Pequot Indian battles consisted of three separate engagements. The first this day in 1637.

The Pequot Indians were not nice people. Far from it. Disliked the Puritan settlers especially. The Pequots were prone to attack the Puritans.

The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay were equally not nice. Disliked the Pequots. Decided to kill them all.

In the early morning darkness, the Puritans attacked in Mystic a sleeping Pequot camp consisting of 500 men, women and children. Massacred them. Most of the 500 killed.

Retribution? Who knows why wars really start. It was the next step in the Mystic battle that makes me look down upon the supposedly religious Puritans.

The blood of the 500 was not enough. The Puritans beheaded some of the Indian dead. Then proceeded to play kick ball with the heads down the streets of Mystic.

Rain in the morning yesterday. Rain again last night. I’m waiting for my house to float away.

I spent the day inside. Continued working on next week’s KONK Life column in the afternoon. Was getting ready to shower and go into town when it began raining again. Waited a while. Did not stop. Forget stopping, did not even let up a bit.

Decided to remain home. Enjoyed a small meal and watched the Cavalier/Celtic game.

LeBron James has to be the greatest basketball player of all time. He was on his game last night. Scored 46 points leading Cleveland to victory.

The final playoff game sunday night.

I had spent two afternoons preparing to write next week’s KONK Life column. The topic excited me. When I sat to do the blog at 6 this morning, I decided to write the KONK article instead.

The column completed and sent to the KONK editor. It will hit the stands wednesday evening.

The topic involves Trump, Hitler, lying, the Jews, and the FBI. Titled: The FBI of Today The Jews of Yesterday.

The topic intrigued me. The more I researched, the more interested I became. I am uncertain of the final product. My research may have been better than my writing in this instance. The subject matter difficult to explore with a 500 word limit.

Which means I am sitting here writing today’s blog at 11:30. Never that late!

Big evening tonight! Dinner with my lesbian wives Donna and Terri. I have not seen Donna in two weeks. She has been in Detroit visiting family.

I wrote a couple off days ago about the wonderful multi-facted Laura Richardson. Singer, bartender, Salt Gallery owner, newspaper reporter.

Amy Bondurant e-mailed me. Amy a former U.S. Ambassador. Now a Key West resident. Presently in Maryland preparatory to heading off to her Paris home.

Amy knows Laura and agrees she is multi-talented. Amy shared with me something I did not know. Laura is also an attorney.

The media is mentioning Alberto today when referring to the weather. Alberto has become a for real storm. Presently a sub-tropical storm.

It is anticipated Alberto will hit the westerly coast of Cuba and then come north into the Gulf of Mexico. Landfall anywhere from Louisiana to the Panhandle monday night or tuesday morning.

Alberto will not come near Key West. It will be way out to the west in the Gulf.

Does not mean Key West is not a player. Heavy rains anticipated through wednesday. Winds in the Keys up to 40 mph. Flash flooding a major danger to the southern Keys.

The irony of all this is that the hurricane season has not begun. Not till June 1 which is next friday.

Creatures of the sea get the best medical attention in the Keys. Especially, turtles. The Turtle Hospital is located in Marathon.

A small injured turtle was found off Little Palm Island. A rare species. A Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle. Entangled in a fishing line.

The little one has been names Echo. His problem a broken flipper.  He has been treated with laser therapy, wound care, antibiotics, fluids and vitamins.

His hospital stay anticipated to be 2 months.

The heavy rains can be disruptive of Key West fun times. The annual Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta had been scheduled for tomorrow. Rescheduled to next sunday because of the rain.

Memorial Day ceremonies begin early monday. Nine at the Maine Memorial in the Cemetery. Ten at Bayview Park.

A parade? Not sure. Must be. I’ll find out and let you know.

United Airlines announced it will begin direct flights with Newark in the Fall. With Chicago, mid December.

Enjoy your day!