HEMINGWAY INJURED

 

My topic for next week’s KONK Life column changed from yesterday to today.

My plan was to write about ICE. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. A group some view as Trump’s private army.

I began research during the week. More to do yesterday and then write the article. It never happened. I got out of my desk chair to get something and my back went out. An every 5-6 year experience. Back just goes. Killer spasms.

So much for any further research or writing yesterday.

I rose early this morning to complete the ICE research and write the column. Even before writing this blog. I completed the research. Eight pages of it.

I decided I would write today’s blog at that point and leave the ICE column for this afternoon. In searching internet for information suitable for the blog, an item on a history site garnered my attention.

On this day in 1918, Ernest Hemingway was a Red Cross driver on the Italian front. It was World War I. A mortar shell hit nearby. He received serious right leg and knee injuries.  Kept him hospitalized for six months.

Hemingway fell in love with American nurse Agnes von Kurkowsky. The relationship formed the basis for A Farewell To Arms.

Part of Hemingway’s recovery found he and Agnes spending a week at the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees in Stresa. On Lake Maggiore which separates Italy and Switzerland.

I have visited Stresa and Lake Maggiore several times. Enjoyed drinks each visit at the Grand Hotel. A huge magnificent structure from days gone by.

I made appropriate inquiries and was shown the bar room where Ernest and Agnes imbibed. A small room in the back of the first floor with one window overlooking gardens. No longer a bar. Today, a storage room.

In August 2015, I wrote what I considered a short but interesting rendition of the Ernest/Agnes relationship. It ended when Agnes sent him a Dear John letter following his return to the U.S.

Many years later after Ernest had departed Key West for Cuba, Agnes moved to Key West. Worked as a librarian for years. The two never met during any of Hemingway’s infrequent visits.

The 2015 column contains the Ernest/Agnes story from beginning to end. Covering a span of almost 40 years.

I was moved when I reread the 2015 column. I decided to rerun it next week as my KONK column and hold my notes concerning ICE for another time. Love always more interesting than pain and suffering.

Hemingway’s First Love hits the stands Wednesday.

Happy Birthday! continued into last night. Dinner with Lisa and the family. Loved it!

Robert and Ally are betting big. Fourteen and thirteen respectively. Young adults. Ally still enjoys the experience of singing Happy Birthday and watching the candles being blown out.

At 83, I only get one candle. Eighty three plus one would probably blow my heart out as I tried to blow the candles out.

I blew my diet. Per request, Lisa made a white cake with chocolate frosting. Two big pieces. Loved it!

My back pain was tempered. Had taken 3 Advil. Still sore. Tolerable, however.

Following Lisa’s headed over to the Chart Room. Kevin back in town. Arrived yesterday at 5. Two gins with Kevin and my back felt even better. Enjoyed our conversation.

Sleep came easy because of the Advil and gin. No pain till I got out of bed this morning. Three more Advil.

A stormy morning. It has been raining for at least an hour. Heavy. Exceptionally loud thunder and lightening. The lightening periodically coming through the blinds.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

83rd BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY’S NEWS

My 83rd birthday came and went too soon. Hopefully, I will be here to celebrate my 84th next year. Sounds foreboding. There is always a concern at this age.

A nice day.

The many Happy Birthdays received appreciated. The internet a wonderful thing. Keeps us connected and remembering each other.

Lisa and family woke me early. All on the phone singing Happy Birthday Poppa! A good way to begin the day.

Celebration time not over. I am having dinner with Lisa and the family tonight. By special request, my cake will be white with chocolate frosting.

Last night, Donna and Terri took me to dinner. We celebrated at Tavern ‘n Town. George and Artie were with us. A good time.

It was still early when dinner ended. Decided to stop at the Chart Room for a drink. Glad I did. Ran into Dorothy Downs. We talked quite a while.

Dorothy’s husband Maurice passed on last year. He was a Miami orthodontist. They had homes in Miami and Key West.

In previous meetings, we never chatted more than five minutes. Last night, quite a while. Turned out to be fortuitous. Dorothy discovered I was a nice guy. She told me she always thought I was arrogant. I probably was. Time softens us.

Several times yesterday, I heard people talk about the new hurricane on its way. Beryl.

I can see concern is going to set in early this hurricane season. Irma left people with a touch of fear.

Beryl is not coming anywhere near Key West. It has been described by the weather folk as a tiny one. About 1,000 miles south of the Lesser Antilles. It may run over Puerto Rico. Should not be a problem. Predicted to be winds of 40 mph at that time.

This morning’s Key West Citizen notes in its Keys History section that the John Kennedy World War II movie PT-109 was being filmed at Munson Island. Cliff Robertson played the title role.

Let me add some additional local color. Munson Island is today known as Little Palm Island. One of the world’s most famous and expensive resorts. It was wiped out by Irma and is still under reconstruction. It will return!

The island at the time was owned by John Spottswood. A Key West legendary figure. Sheriff and State Senator for many years.

President Kennedy was in Key West checking out fortifications during the Cuban missile crisis. Spottswood accompanied him. They were already friends. Hollywood had decided to do the movie. A search for a location was underway. Spottswood suggested Munson Island. The rest is history.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned. About time. He probably contributed to the swamp condition more than any other Trump appointee.

The man replacing him not much better. Andrew Wheeler. Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist. He spent much time working for Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla). Inhofe denies climate change. Refuses to accept it exists.

Trump has appointed another winner!

The blind cannot see. Or if sight is possible, then as Forrest Gump   was wont to say…..stupid is as stupid does. I refer to the tariff war with China. Should not be. The irresponsible brain child of Donald Trump.

In one year’s time or less, two major U.S. industries will take a big hit economically. Jobs lost big time. Soybeans and lobsters.

The U.S. is the biggest supplier of soybeans to China. Several farm States depend on selling their soybeans to China. China’s attitude is don’t screw with us. China is already entering into agreements to purchase soybeans from Brazil.

China is a major importer of U.S. lobsters. Multi-millions of dollars involved. Maine and Florida lobsters. The lobster industry will be destroyed. This includes Florida’s spiny lobsters. Many are fished off the Keys.

I have said this before and repeat it again. Recall when Hoover became President. The stock market was at an all time high. Booming. Hoover for some unfathomable reason decided the U.S. should impose tariffs with regard to certain countries. Within one year, the Great Depression of 1929 was upon us.

Expect no less from what Trump has initiated.

Water is sacred. Not enough. Insufficient concern unfortunately. The U.S. must watch how it uses its water.

Recall several years ago California. Bottled water companies were buying municipal water big time. The companies got a break cost wise because they were buying in bulk. Homeowners paid a hell of a lot more for water than the bottled water companies per unit.

Governor Brown has been working on the problem.

Today, the problem has reared its ugly head in Chiapas, Mexico. Coca Cola the culprit. Coca Cola bottles and sells water.

Wells are the primary source for water. Homeowners dig down only so far. Accustomed to getting all the water they needed. Coca Cola comes in and digs wells deeper. Significantly deeper. Cause the homeowner wells to go dry.

Coca Cola’s bottled water has now become the water supply for homeowners.

The following sickening. Occurred in a Houston school. Twenty two sixth grade girls were in a music class. Fifty dollars was missing. School administrative officers were called in. A resource officer, also.

The resource officer said, “Girls like to hide things in their bras and panties.”

A strip search followed. Each girl was separately taken into  a bathroom with a nurse. The nurse checked around the panty waistbands, loosened bras, and lifted the girl’s shirts so that the young ladies were exposed shoulder to waist.

Parents were never called for permission. Some of the girls asked to call their mothers first and were denied permission.

What possessed the principal. assistant principal, nurse and resource officer is beyond me. Some things your gut tells you cannot be done.

The girls sued. The court threw out their case. Said the facts did not permit a lawsuit. An appellate court decided otherwise this week. Ok to sue the bastards! Not reported in such indelicate language, of course.

My KONK Life column is on the street. This weeks title: Hurricanes and Key West Cemeteries. Irma got me into hurricanes with both feet.

BOB says you must wait another day.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY

 

Happy Fourth of July!

Independence Day. The birthday of our country.

Two hundred forty two years old. It was July 4, 1776 at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia that the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

We are a young nation. Compare our age to that of European nations. Still growing. Tensions abound. The Trump era crazy and dangerous.

America celebrates. Tonight, fireworks! In Key West, off the White Street Pier.

This past week has been strange politically. Relatively quiet. We have not heard from Rudy Giuliani and other Trump cohorts who were making the news. Are they quiet because of Michael Cohen on the verge of possibly flipping?

Cohen is making noise like Trump when he wants something. He is using the media. Cohen seems to be telling the Second District he wants to jump fence and play on their side. Thus far they have not picked up on his offer.

Spent yesterday afternoon fine tuning last night’s podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Thoroughly enjoyed doing the show. Covered a multitude of sins. Wish I had had more time.

Casey joined me for dinner before the show. At Roostica.

Casey and his 70′ x 30′ catamaran sit in the water off Hogfish. Casey new to Key West. Been here all of 10 days. Yesterday, he took his dingy and visited Wisteria Island. He is interested in Key West lore. The day before he went out into the Gulf a bit and did some diving.

Jennifer waited on us. It has been two years since I last saw her. She was pregnant at the time and due any day. She proudly showed me her son’s picture. Two years old. A handsome little man.

Good friends Fran and Tom Dixon have arrived. Buffalo their home. They visit four times a year. Stay at Ocean Key. Tom is on the Board.

We are doing dinner tonight. Meeting at 6 at the Chart Room. My turn to host. Probably the A&B Lobster House. Plan on calling for a reservation since today is a holiday.

Fran is concerned for me. She thinks I am not well fed. She brings me food from Buffalo. Tonight, I will receive at least 4 jars of homemade sauce containing pork, sausage and meatballs. Plus low carb bread and home made candy.

Love the woman!

You have to believe in guardian angels! God, too! Two examples evidencing why.

A few days ago, the cruise liner Norwegian Gallery was 28 miles off the northwest of Cuba. A crew member fell off the ship. His fall seen. The ship backed up and searched. Could not find him. Authorities notified. Air and sea searches proved fruitless.

The next day, the cruise ship Carnival Glory was traveling in the opposite direction. Twenty one miles off the north coast of Cuba. Saw the crew member in the water. He was rescued. In good health.

The man had been in the water 22 hours. Treading. No life jacket. Fortunately the water is warm and calm this time of year. Even more fortunate, a shark did not come upon him.

Did the man have a guardian angel? No question in my mind. God was looking after him.

A Thailand event the other example.

A 12 member soccer team and their coach got lost in a mountain gave in north Thailand. The boys 11-16.

The cave is part of a huge mountain. Full of corridors of all sizes. Some entrances small. The boys had to squeeze to get through. The team was able to get down into the heart of the mountain about one mile.

Then stuck. Water all around them. The caves have flowing water in various depths.

They could not get out. Spent 10 days in the dark and without food. Searchers and divers arrived from all over the world. A total of 1,000 looking to provide assistance. Two British divers found them over the weekend.

All basically in good health. Food, water and medical assistance provided.

At this point it is clear the kids and their coach had a special guardian angel looking over them. God directing their rescue.

The rescue is not complete however. It has been raining since the team got lost. The rainy season. Every day. The rain sometimes six inches in an hour. Cave passage ways flooding.

The team will have to swim and dive in order to get out. A mile.

None know how to swim or dive. Present plans are to teach them how to swim and dive. Then take them out. Two professional divers guiding each team person.

It is estimated the plan will take months. However so far the only way determined to get them out.

Hope the guardian angels and the good Lord stay with them.

Children detained in chain linked cages. We should be ashamed! I do not understand how Trump supporters find nothing wrong with the scenario: “They broke the law.” “They brought their children into the U.S.” “They invited what is happening to them.”

For shame!

The Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis is expressing its concern and disagreement. Statues of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus sit on the lawn of the Church in a chain linked enclosed cage.

BOB says it is a holiday. He is not writing today.

Enjoy your Fourth!

 

“I’LL PROBABLY GO THE SAME WAY”

 

Fifty seven years ago today. July 2, 1961. A sad day.

Ernest Hemingway committed suicide. At his then home in Sun Valley, Idaho.

One of the greats in the annals of literary history. A favorite son of Key West.

Hemingway’s father Dr. Clarence Hemingway committed suicide many years earlier. Hemingway said at the time: “I’ll probably go the same way.”

A quiet evening last night. A drink at the Chart Room and grocery shopping at Publix. The refrigerator was empty again.

BOB returns. The Bum Farto saga continued.

Authorities did not initially pay attention to drug dealing in Key West. Farto and friends became aware. He and some Bubba friends decided to make some easy money.

Farto fixed up El Jefe and his personal appearance. What he was doing became open and notorious. El Jefe was lime green to begin and carried a sign with El Jefe on it. Farto added a bright gold eagle to the hood, together with reflective glass and two sawed off shotguns.

He uniformed himself. He wore a shocking pink uniform, rose colored glasses, and a generous helping of gold jewelry.

Farto was on the way! His new career took off! Drug dealer!

Ssles and deliveries were made from El Jefe. The drugs secreted in McDonald lunch bags and pizza boxes.

Dealing drugs did not interfere with Farto continuing his regular job as Fire Chief.

The operation expanded. Thirty some odd fellow Key West citizens became involved. None, including Farto, were Mafia types. They merely happened upon an easy way to make money and said why not. Never seriously considering the consequences.

Federal authorities became aware. No one sure how. The flamboyant manner in which Farto was doing business? Someone squealed? The answer not known.

There was a massive arrest by authorities. Thirty in all. Farto included. Referred to as the Big Bubba Bust.

The timing had one inconvenient factor. Key West’s primary bail bondsman was among those arrested. The only other bondsman was out of town on vacation.

Who was going to bail these good citizens of Key West out of jail?

The bonding company Bankers Casualty Insurance Company became involved. Probably because they did not want to lose all the money they could make bonding thirty good and true men out of jail. The Company arranged for the release of the bondsman who in turn bailed out the remaining 29 defendants.

The best is yet to come.

To be continued…..

ICE is going to become well known to the American people. Some have begun referring to ICE as Trump’s private army. A scary thought.

My immediate concern is where are the babies and girls? Yesterday, photos of some of the girls were shown. Where are they? Where are the babies? What is going on? Time to open the doors and let the media and public in. I fear something bad has occurred.

On this day in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act. A monumental moment!

Color would no longer be an issue. Did not work out that way. Things are better. However, race still an issue in our country. Trump I suspect a racist.

We have a long way to go.

On this day in 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died some 80 days later. His doctors killed him, not the assassin who shot him.

A few yeas ago, I wrote a KONK Life column on the topic. I asked Sloan this morning to dig it out. If she finds it, I plan on running the column as tomorrow’s blog adding only a brief introduction.

The moment of truth is upon us. The truth re Trump’s use of tariffs to enhance the U.S. economically.

Yesterday, Canada began adding new tariffs totaling $12.6 billion on U.S. products. China begins friday when it will add new tariffs totaling $34 billion. U.S. soybean farmers are going to be hit big time. China’s tariffs are being imposed on the same day the U.S. is adding $34 billion on Chinese goods.

Harley-Davidson has already said it is moving a significant number of its production lines out of the U.S. because of the tariffs. Nine thousand jobs will be gone.

General Motors and Polaris warned in recent days that they may have to take certain of their businesses overseas.

The largest U.S. nail manufacturer, Mid-Continental Nail, announced it has laid off 60 employees already because of the tariffs. The Company further advised that if something is not done to correct the situation, it will be out of business by Labor Day.

Helicopter assisted escapes from jails becoming commonplace. Forty nine since 1971. Thirty successful, nineteen failed.

Yesterday at a jail outside Paris, Redoine Fain successfully escaped. A stolen helicopter landed inside jail walls, picked up Fain, and were up and away in less than a minute.

Since 1971, seven movies, a number of TV shows, and several books have been written re the “art” of jail helicopter escapes.

Tonight, one of my Key West favorites. Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. I find it relaxing to sit, have a couple of drinks, and sing along with the bartenders.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BOB…..RECOLLECTIONS OF BUM FARTO

On this lovely Sunday morning, no better way to begin than with a Jimmy Buffett quote. A profound one. “I’d rather die while I’m living then live while I’m dead.”

BOB is back. The Afro Sheen Caper is next in the book. Only problem is I do not quite understand what BOB wrote. Nor did research provide any help.

Anyone who has knowledge, please forward to me.

In the meanwhile, it becomes Bum Farto time. BOB gives a history of Farto leading up to…..Bum Farto where are you? Interesting. A bit lengthy. I have added some info I discovered to BOB’s rendition. Ergo, the Bum Farto portion may take 3-4 days to report.

Hang on! The ride is good!

BOB titles the chapter Bum Farto And The Lime Green “Jefe” Car.

Farto was born in 1919 in Key West. A for real Conch. He grew up across the street from a fire station. He was constantly charming the firemen to give them their loose change. Resulted in Farto being nicknamed “Bum.”

Farto became a fireman. Started as a nozzleman. Eventually became Fire Chief.

Along the way, he supplemented his income by driving a hearse for a local funeral home.

Farto became Chief in 1964. His first run in with the law occurred two years later in 1966. He was charged with multiple counts of having misused Fire Department funds. The claim was he signed the names of various firefighters on their checks and cashed them.

Farto lucked out. The bubba system saved his ass. His nephew headed the Civil Service Review Board. Farto was tried by his nephew. He was found not guilty of all counts, except for one. That he had threatened to fire one of his employees. He received a 30 day suspension.

As Chief, Farto drove a lime green vehicle. On the side was a sign which read “El Jefe.” El Jefe is Spanish for Chief.

Tomorrow, Farto and the drug trade.

Spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column. Got it out to the publisher last night. Hits the stands Wednesday evening.

I initially was going to write a history of the Key West Cemetery. As I researched further, It became obvious there was more to the story than merely a history of today’s cemetery. The hurricane that hit Key West as a 5 on November 11, 1846  definitely a part of the tale.

My column went from A History of the Key West Cemetery to Hurricanes and Key West Cemeteries.

You will enjoy!

Ocasio-Cortez’s name in the headlines the past few days. She is the Democrat Socialist who defeated 20 year House of Representative member Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary.

The lady is 28. Makes an excellent appearance. Appears intelligent. She may represent the wave of the future for Democrats. Liberals tending beyond progressivism to socialism. A mouthful.

Ocasio-Cortez is described as a radical. I question the label. The reason is that she stands for things I do. Such as free tuition, true universal health care, reinstating Glass-Steagall, and describing Israeli shooting of Palestinians a massacre.

I believe that the Trump tariffs will destroy our economy and that of the world within 1-2 years. The tariffs  seed for another recession. A big one.

A recent study indicates Trump intends to impose a 20 percent tariff on EU cars. Recognize many are made in the U.S. today. Regardless, the price increases are startling.

Luxury cars will suffer the biggest increase. A 2018 Mercedes SL Roadster’s starting price will increase $17, 640. From $88,200 to $105,840. A lower priced car now costing $34,600 will suffer an increase of $6,920 to $41,520.

These increases will appear about 2 months after the tariff goes into effect.

The tariff war coming is senseless. The brainchild of Trump. A man who knows not what he does.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

DINNER WITH JENNA

Jenna Stauffer and I have been friends for more than 10 years. We first met when she graduated college. She came to Key West seeking a career.

I had just started doing an internet show for Guy de Boer. Jenna taught me the ropes. Then proceeded to get involved with my show. In effect, becoming its producer.

Later, Jenna was instrumental in getting me a spot on Key West’s only TV station at the time. I did a one hour a week talk show that went from Key West to Fort Lauderdale. Jenna was a big shot at the studio at the time. She still made time for me and my show, however.

Jenna was doing her own TV talk show at the same time.

In those early  years, we both got involved with Larry Smith and an internet show he put together. I did not last long. The show was primarily music and jokes. I had no singing voice. A joker I was not. One show and I was out.

Jenna and Larry made a good fit. Jenna co-hosting the show with Larry. She got a great deal of experience working with Larry.

Jenna is off to all sorts of great things today. A successful free lancer. In addition to her Key West activity, she is frequently in Miami hosting a show here or there and doing some modeling.

Last night was the first time in months we were able to get together. Our schedules conflicted. It was a pleasure seeing her. As lovely as ever. As bright and cheerful as ever.

Dinner at Berlin’s.

Jenna is in love. I am happy for her! The relationship seems to be moving in the right direction.

I am to meet the lucky man. Probably a week from now. To provide grandfatherly approval.

Bria Ansara sang. She leaves in 8 days for Norway and Germany. A much deserved vacation.

Stopped at the Chart Room for a night cap and chat with John before going home. Met Melissa. A manager at Schooner Wharf.

BOB is still on a sort of sabbatical.

There has been much conversation recently re civility in politics. I find it difficult to agree with most I read.

Republicans and Democrats are at war. Big time! Primarily because of Trump and his crazy ways. Feelings being stomped on. Many becoming aggravated. Trump administrative persons have recently been the center of embarrassing situations while dining in restaurants.

It bothers me that many Democratic leaders are saying such conduct was bad. Should not continue. Be civil!

How wrong their attitudes.

Republicans fight down and dirty. They go for the jugular. Democrats pussy foot around. With apologies to Michelle Obama, I do not agree with her philosophy that when “they” go low, we go high.

You hit me and I am going to hit you back. Harder. I am a don’t tread on me type guy.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently wrote a column regarding the issue: Democrats Must Channel Anti-Trump Fervor Into Winning Midterms.”

The column’s opening and closing paragraphs clearly express my feelings. I am glad that another, especially a Eugene Robinson, shares my thoughts.

Robinson wrote in opening: “Let me get this straight. President Trump and his associates treat politics like a back-alley knife fight, but his critics are supposed to pretend it’s a garden party? I don’t think so.”

His closing paragraph: “The remedy is not for progressives to choose their words oh-so-carefully and hope no one takes offense. It is to be loud and clear-and tough as nails-in fighting back.”

In June 1914, Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo. A series of events followed leading to the beginning of World War I a few months later.

I mention the Archduke’s assassination and the precipitating factor it became re World War I in order to make a point. In an unruly world, we never know what incident will result in the carnage of a world war.

The world society is unsteady today.  The constant fear exists that some leader/country will perform an act leading to a major war. Significant deaths resulting in a short time.

I worry in these times that some idiot will press the button. The button’s size being immaterial.

Today is the day I write my KONK Life column for next week. I have not yet decided on a topic. I would like to do another that does not involve politics, war, etc. A change of pace story.

Last week it was sand.

I am toying with the idea of doing something about the Key West Cemetery. There is a local effort to identify all buried persons. Many graves are without stones or markings.

Perhaps a history of the Key West Cemetery.

Enjoy your day!

 

KOKOMO MAN…..HEADS IN THE SAND

This blog is available on several sites. Most provide for comment. Some of the comments are vicious.

WordPress has the worst. Some days, it is World War III.

My KONK Life column this week is titled World Running Out Of Sand. Sand is a non-replaceable natural resource. We should be concerned. We are not. Probably because most are unaware. My purpose in writing about sand’s depletion was to bring the problem to the attention of others.

Kokomo Man is a frequent commenter on the WordPress site. One of the more reasonable. Kokomo Man commented re the sand issue: “This, just as other environmental problems, like global warming, is another problem that won’t go away while many…..wait for it…..stick their heads in the sand.”

“Stick their heads in the sand!” Love it! Humor instead of venom. A change of pace.

A busy mid day yesterday. Office Max, Walgreens, and Sandy’s Cafe.

I picked up the wrong drug. I take 11 pills a day so it is easy to screw up. This particular prescription was replaced with another by my heart doctor some time ago.

I have insurance. Still have co-pay, however. Yesterday, $114. How could it be. The sales person was no help. Showed me how my insurance company saved me $1,100. Bullshit itself.

No further help at Walgreens.

Called my heart doctor and got the problem straightened out. Back to Walgreens today to return the pills and get a $114 credit on my credit card.

Americans are getting screwed when it comes to the cost of prescription drugs. We may be paying the highest prices in the world. It takes a President and Congress to fix the problem. Previous Presidents have not.

Trump promised to do so in the campaign. He is now trying, but not as he had promised. His thought then was throw it into Medicare/make it work like Medicare.

A month ago, Trump made a big deal speech re the issue. He was going to fix the problem. By having the pharmaceutical houses sit down and negotiating fairer prices for the American people.

A far cry from the Medicare solution.

The Chart Room last night. John bartending. Small crowd.

Met Steve. An eighth grade math teacher from St. Petersburg. Enjoyed our conversation. John a part of it. Included some Steve Carlton.

Tyler and Jenn at the other end of the bar. From Newark, Ohio. Told them I liked their Governor Kasich for President.

Walked across the street to Hot Tin Roof for dinner. Watched a college baseball playoff game. Enjoyed the company of a vacationing couple. Irma a significant part of the conversation.

Pouring like hell at the moment! Has been doing so for 20 minutes. Ok. We are in to the rainy season. Once the rain stops and the sun comes out, the humidity will be overwhelming. As the saying goes, you can cut it with a knife.

My today begins with Lori and a haircut. Amazing! I have nothing but fuzz. Needs to be buzzed off every two weeks.

Then lunch and the newspapers a few doors down at Sandy’s Cafe.

Tonight, I do not know. Not concerned. Something always comes up.

Mark Rossi is a Key West business man and public servant. He owns the Red Garter on Duval. A moneymaker!

Rossi is running for mayor. Or, he was. Candidates for the office must pay a $225 fee by a certain date of filing. Rossi vacationing in Europe. He or someone on his staff forgot. The court ruled yesterday Rossi is ineligible to run.

A proper decision. We have enough problems as it is with our elections. Election laws must be strictly enforced.

Some dance to a different tune in the Keys. Voyeurism generally involves a man sneaking a look at a woman’s privates. Could work in another fashion. A man trying to get a look at another man’s privates.

A male employee at the Big Pine Walgreens some how got a video to photograph men in the men’s room. He got caught and has been arrested. The charge, video voyeurism. His excuse, he was aroused by viewing the film. Merely watched, never distributed.

BOB is taking another day off.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement yesterday after 30 years of service. A serious loss to the Court. He was the occasional swing vote.

Kennedy’s replacement will be a conservative. Most likely, a far to the right one. Trump’s prerogative. In addition, he has a Republican Senate to back him.

Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Conservatives have been dying to get it reversed since that time. It will come up while the new Justice is sitting. A woman’s right to abortion in anger. The Court will be 5-4 in favor of the conservative element.

Unless the new Justice pulls a Warren or Souter. Both representative of the Republican right. Both turned in rendering their decisions. Sided with the Court’sliberals.

Eisenhower said many times that his worst appointment was Warren.

Trump told us following his meeting with Kim that North Korea had agreed to denuclearize. If such was the case, why have recent satellite photos shown North Korea expanding a nuclear research center? Major infrastructure improvements moving at a rapid rate.

Trump is doing a summit with Putin July 16 in Helsinki. The man is crazy. Trump, not Putin. Trump no competition for Putin.

Possibilities coming out of the summit include a goodbye to NATO and U.S. defensive weapons removed from Poland.

Trump is saving Putin’s ass. The man who interfered in our 2016 elections. An avowed enemy of the U.S. and democracy. One seeking to return Russia to its former glory.

We cannot win in the confrontation. Trump says he is smart.  Putin is smart.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

Unusually Good Chart Room Last Night

Chart Room unusually good last night. Chatted with two lovely couples and an old friend. All interesting people.

Met Catherine and Stephen from St. Augustine. Both with interesting backgrounds.

Catherine is in program management with Winn-Dixie. I got an education from her re the super market business. Husband Stephen is a retired electrical engineer. While in the U.S. Navy, served on the submarine USS Jacksonville.

Married 25 years. Have visited Key West 3-4 times.

Then came Dawn and Mike. From Jackson, Tennessee. Dawn a customer rep for a truck line. Husband Mike, a truck driver.

Mike is Dawn’s second husband. Her first husband Greg died in his 40’s. Greg the son of Cal Perkins. Cal Perkins wrote Blue Suede Shoes. Later made famous by Elvis Presley.

Mike a look a like for movie star Sam Elliot.

Dawn’s first husband Greg was fond of Key West. His ashes were spread along Smathers Beach.

Dawn flew from Jackson with Greg’s ashes. Security avoided looking in the container carrying his ashes when she told them what the container contained. They sort of stepped back from the dead.

I did my first book signing a few months ago at the Andrews Inn. Author Robert Codrun put the event together and asked me to participate.

Robert lives in California. He is back in Key West. Arrived yesterday. A couple of hours before we ran into each other at the Chart Room.

A big week is coming up for mystery writers. A very large group will be in Key West to participate. Robert returned to be part of the event.

While all this was going on, Ollie was standing at the end of the bar as overseer. His eyes on everyone.

My stomach told me I was hungry. Stopped at Five Guys. The perfect meal for my diet. Two cheeseburgers wrapped in lettuce. No bread. And a diet soda.

I have some Trump observations. A walk back in history first. Nothing to do with Trump.

Henry Hudson. We all learned in grammar school he discovered the Hudson River. As Columbus before him, he was looking for a passage to the East.

On Hudson’s fourth trip to the New World, he continued north on the Hudson River to Hudson Bay. Winter was setting in. He waited too long to get his ship out into open water. It froze stuck in the waters of Hudson Bay.

A cold winter. Insufficient food. Hudson’s crew not happy campers.

In June when the ship was able to move, the crew mutinied. They were unhappy that they had been forced to suffer the winter and blamed Hudson for his poor judgment.

Hudson, his teenage son and seven crewmen were placed in a small boat and set adrift.

Hudson not a Captain Bligh. The tyrannical captain of the Bounty who had a similar experience but guided his small boat thousands of miles to safety. Hudson, his son and the seven sailors were never heard from again.

Trump time.

Melania visited a Lutheran shelter for immigrant children yesterday. Children 12-18. The kids had already been there for some months. The place looked terrific. The staff appeared professional and caring.

On the surface, a big deal Melania visited the place. Not enough from my perspective. It would have been better had she visited the caged and otherwise detained babies, toddlers and those under 10. She should have been, and we should have been able to see, the down and dirty of the past few days.

A good move by the first Lady. Short of what it should have been.

Trump has several shortcomings hitting him all at one time. Deservedly so. America must see who the man truly is.

His biggest fiasco the breaking up of families. The immigrant children. Thousands who may never be able to reconnect with their families.

Trump’s immigrant move unquestionably a failure.

The immigration bill. Two failed yesterday. A third one is being worked on over the weekend. It may be voted on next week. Perhaps not. It is not what Trump wants. He mentioned on TV they should hold the vote next year at a time when a new Congress might pass it.

Lies galore. By Trump and Sessions. To cover up the poor judgment behind the immigrant problem. The public will not be deceived. Both are being shown on TV before the breakdown of their plans telling us how right it was, the legal thing to do, etc.

Military base facilities are being prepared for 20,000 immigrant children. Instead of wasting money on fixing and staffing new facilities to house and care of them, the money should be spent to quickly determine which children belong to which parents and get the families together.

I have written several times recently that big corporate dollars are involved in caring for the immigrant children. I referred to it as a million dollar business. Not so. The New York Times yesterday reported it was a billion dollar business.

Most are private prison corporations. One has been paid $955 million since 2015. Several others have been paid millions of dollars.

Fraud guaranteed! Someone should follow the money.

This tariff thing is going to break the back of the U.S. Perhaps the world. China’s media claim the U.S. has “delusions” as the impact of the trade war spreads.

Trump does. Millions of U.S. jobs will ultimately be lost. The economic impact will be world wide. A recession similar to 1929 could occur. Recall, Hoover  became President. The late 1920’s were booming. The market at an all time high.

Hoover believed tariffs were appropriate. As Trump does. He was wrong. The Great Depression occurred.

It could happen again.

Trump tells us Saudi Arabia is our friend. Have always been our friend. Bullshit! Never forget Saudi Arabia gave us $4 a gallon gasoline.

The U.S. in recent times had enjoyed a dominance in the energy field. We now export more oil than ever before. The world our customers. Saudi Arabia has had to take a back seat.

Saudi Arabia and OPEC not happy with the situation. They have joined with Russia to regain OPEC’s dominance and diminish that of the United States.

My KONK Life column this week is Sit AT Attention Or Die. Recall last week Trump mentioned he liked it the way people sat at attention when Kim spoke. He wished his people would.

Kim’s people sit at attention because it is death not to. He killed two high ranking officials for the way they sat when he spoke. One for slouching, the other for falling asleep.

The column appears in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast also.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

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!