A CATASTROPHIC KEY WEST HAPPENING

A catastrophic event has occurred. Smoking no longer permitted in Berlin’s.

New owners. The no smoking rule invoked. Surprising because one of the primary new owners a smoker himself.

Please, do not bury me in e-mails about the evils of smoking. Some remain who enjoy it. A personal choice. I do not criticize those who opt not to smoke.

If second hand smoke is a problem, do not attend a place that permits smoking. Only a few are left in Key West. Many non-smoking restaurants and bars available for the multitude.

Lets me share the Berlin story with you.

Berlin’s full name is Berlin’s Cigar and Cocktail Bar. It has been a place frequented by smokers since 1947 when it was first opened as Alonzo Cothron and Berlin Felton’s Fish House.

Eventually, the name was changed to Alonzo’s and Berlin’s Lobster House. The dining institution of the day. The place for a night out followed by a Cuban cigar. The affluent then hopping a plane for a quick flight to Havana for a night of gambling. Returning in time to bed down while still dark outside.

Those must have been the days!

At some point, the establishment was rebuilt. Always a perfect waterfront site. Class before and class after the rebuilding.

Berlin’s had a cool look to it. The feeling of Rick’s cafe. Some consider the swankiest spot in Key West.

Paul Tripp was owner at the time of rebuilding. He said, “I wanted it to be a men’s club, to have a masculine feel to it.”

It did.

An intimate room. Mahogany walls. Maroon leather bound stools and large comfortable easy chairs. Cigars stored in a humidor. The perfect place to sit back and enjoy a smoke.

The present day Berlin’s has the finest filtration system I have ever experienced. Even if the person next to you was smoking a cigar, you never smelled it. The filtration system sucked up the smoke  immediately. After leaving, your clothes did not smell of smoke.

Smokers generally ate in the intimacy of Berlin’s. A&B Lobster House, the restaurant portion is extremely large with a huge outdoor balcony to accommodate everyone else.

The food at the bar and restaurant the same. Always excellent. Pricey. Worth it, however. Especially when I could enjoy a couple of drinks and cigarettes before dinner and another after dinner while enjoying the last drink of the night.

The change makes no sense. It will not increase business. It might lessen it, if anything.

The Chart Room my only stop last night. John bartending. Ran into Diesel last year. Again, last night. We spoke at length. I enjoyed his company.

Diesel is from Ohio. Retired. He and his wife Lynise bought a home in Key West several years ago. Lynise was not with him. An early to bed person as I am most evenings.

They spend 6 months a year on the island. I told Diesel he was a snowbird. He did not like the title. Preferred to be known as a transient Conch. Don’t think it would fly with the Conchs.

Cori Convertino, how I envy you! Cori was on Ballast Key yesterday!

Cori is technically Dr. Cori Convertino. She is curator at the Custom House. Over the years, she became a close friend of David Wolkowsky. David you will recall died 2 month ago.

David enjoyed 3 homes in the Key West area. One was on Ballast Key. A small island 16 miles west of Key West. A magnificent edifice planned and built by David.

Not sure why Cori was there yesterday. Wish she had invited me. I assume she was there for some reason having to do with the furnishings. David was a huge benefactor to the Custom House.

I met Fritz Adare 12 years ago at a party at Larry and Christine Smith’s home. Nice guy. He was introduced as a personal trainer. Looked it. A magnificent body. Skin like a baby’s back end. A body that sparkled.

It was obvious Fritz was a good health addict.

I rarely saw him. We would run into each other one or two times a year. Always a cordial hello and a few words.

Yesterday’s Facebook listed the day as Fritz’s birthday. I sent him a Happy Birthday!

Last night, Larry and Christine telephoned me. I knew there had to be trouble if both were on the phone together. Fritz had died several months ago. I did not know.

Strange. I never saw his obituary. Looked for it this morning. Not in the Key West Citizen. Found it in a South Bend, Indiana newspaper. Fritz died on May 29. He was residing in an assisted living facility at the time. Age, 71.

May he rest in peace.

When older people who I know pass on, I get a bit nervous. I am 83. Fritz was 71. He unquestionably was a health nut. Always working out. Took all kinds of vitamins and supplement pills. Nutrition was a big thing with him.

I do not dwell on death. Mark Twain said, “Age is not an issue of mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

What will be, will be.

An important thing in life. After saturday’s victory, Syracuse is now ranked 14th in the nation. A 7-2 record so far. Go ‘Cuse!

Enjoy your day!

 

EXCITEMENT BUILDING

Excitement is building. You can feel it. Especially if you are a Key West local. Fantasy Fest is coming! Begins tomorrow night with Goombay.

The Chart Room first last night. Met up with Buffalo’s Fran and Tom Dixon. Just returned from a Greece trip. We were meeting for drinks and then dinner where ever.

Love Fran! Takes care of me. From Buffalo, she brought me 6 jars of meat sauce. Meatballs, pork and beef included. I can depend on such a gift every time they return to Key West.

We spoke of their visit to Santorini. One of my favorite places. Got into Gary Hart. A recent Atlantic article says he was set up re the Bahamas boat pic by Republican campaign manager at the time Lee Attwater.

Tom’s brother Bill was Hart’s campaign manager which added to the flavor of the conversation.

Met the new bartender Tammy. An attractive blond. Will be working 2 nights at the Chart Room. The other 5 at Garden of Eden. The naked rooftop place above the Bull. I will be frequenting the Garden beginning soon.

I do not strip. Too embarrassed. Enjoy watching the bare assed ladies running around. My voyeur nature.

Barb and Carl from New Hampshire were at the bar. I met them last year. Barb is in insurance and Carl a firefighter. Due to retire in 2 years. Good for him!

They have a son C.J. who I met last year. Barb got him on her cell phone/skpe whatever and we chatted a few minutes. C.J. is 26. A fundraiser and advertiser for Meals on Wheels in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He also dabbles in writing on the side.

We decided on Ibis for dinner. Fran and Tom had been there the night before and said the stone crabs were fresh and delicious. I had a concern they might still be frozen. Michael whipped up our waters and I heard the stone crabs had been affected.

We enjoyed a $250 stone crab meal. Love Fran and Tom. But they were wrong. They had been frozen. I know, I can tell. I did not bust their bubble that we had gotten screwed.

Oh, well.

Next week, the stone crabs being served should be fresh everywhere.

I am moving fast this morning. A haircut at noon with Lori. Then a quick stop at Farmers Market. Have not been there in a while. Want to buy some big juicy tomatoes and small rolls.

Nine years ago, Key West was plagued with the Acevedo scandal. Theft from the school district.

Kathy Reitzel was bookkeeper at the time. She claims she discovered the takings and reported them. Then she was fired. She claimed she had been fired because she was a whistle blower.

Took 9 years to reach trial. The jury returned yesterday. Denied her whistle blower status. However awarded her a $60,000 verdict for breach of contract. A long wait for a poor return. The jury did not accept her as a whistle blower which was the main thrust of her case.

Never forget those who help you.

Monroe County staff and fire rescue crews have been to the Panhandle lending a helping hand. Those they were helping had come to the Keys to help following Irma.

The Key West Art and Historical Society sponsors a Distinguished Speaker Series. On October 25 at the Key West Theater on Eaton, Dr. Pamela Stephenson Connolly will speak on The History, Culture, and Politics of Bondage/Domination/Sadomasochism. Emphasis will be on the nature and role of BDSM among couples.

A fitting presentation during Fantasy Fest. Especially since several BDSM public parties are featured during the week.

Only in Key West!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

POLENTA

Enjoyed a light meal last night at Roostica. Meatballs and polenta. Sounds heavy. Mine was not. I ordered the appetizer portion.

Polenta is an Italian dish. Cornmeal. Generally, boiled. Can be fried or baked.

Never enjoyed polenta while living in Utica. Tried it a couple of times. Did not like it.

Now, I love it!

I have been to Courmayeur in northern Italy several times. God’s country. Sits 4,000 feet up Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc being the tallest peak in Europe. Four thousand feet sounds like a lot till you look up and see Mont Blanc’s snow covered peak at 16,000 feet.

Courmayeur beautiful. Swiss chalets abound. Residential and commercial buildings alike.

Polenta is the traditional food of Courmayeur. Courmayeur world known for its polenta. Prepared every which way.

Every restaurant serves polenta. Regardless of what else is ordered. A large bowl is deposited in the center of the table at the beginning of each meal.

I got to like polenta during my Courmayeur stays.

Courmayeur is situated close to the French border. Less than an hour’s drive. Opposite Courmayeur on the French side is Chamonix. Another famous Alpine resort.

Connecting Italy and France is the Mont Blanc Tunnel. The only way to get to Chamonix from Courmayeur. The tunnel is 7.15 miles. Through the mountain, not over.

I found it strange. You drive through the tunnel with the windows closed and the air conditioning/heat off. Less you be asphyxiated from carbon monoxide fumes.

Trump makes it sound like borders are protected everywhere. Not among the democratic countries of Europe. I was impressed I could drive through the tunnel without showing a passport or stopping. Like driving from Florida to Georgia or New York to New Jersey.

I highly recommend a Courmayeur vacation. Summer or winter. The buildings magnificent, Mont Blanc overwhelming, the people nice.

Before Roostica, I stopped at the Chart Room.

John introduced me right away to Lana and Gary. I was thrilled to meet them. They are daily blog readers and had bought and read Irma and Me.

Presently live in Crystal River, Florida. Manatee country. You can even swim with the manatees in Crystal River!

Both originally from New York State. Lana, Rochester and Gary, Catskill. Lana a school teacher. Gary a retired fireman who now works as a ticket broker. Both in their late 40’s.

They are in Key West celebrating their third wedding anniversary. Today the day. They were married three years ago in Key West.

Gary asked Lana to marry him three plus years ago on the stage at Irish Kevin’s. In front of the world! He needed a ring. Stopped at a souvenir store on Duval and bought a 10 cent multi colored plastic one.

Enjoyed my time with Lana and Gary. Good people!

Sloan and I have not been together in weeks. We have reached a point where I e-mail a need and she performs. However every now and then, we have to sit together. Mechanical things to be done. Tonight at 5:30.

Something new was started last year in Key West. The Key Lime Festival. This year sponsored by KWAHS.

The event takes place at the Key West Lighthouse on Whitehead. From 11 to 2:30 next saturday, June 30.

The reason to attend is to view or participate in the Key Lime Pie Drop from the top of the Lighthouse. Seventy three feet. The idea is to place a key lime pie in some contraption invented by the dropper and let it fly. The winner is the one whose pie lands without damage.

A difficult feat.

I have written several times that while Trump goes around demeaning other nations, those nations are slowing moving off the dollar to the Chinese yuan. Each time this happens, the dollar is devalued. It is occurring frequently since Trump took office.

Some nations, especially small ones, are moving off the dollar or yuan to gold. They believe the world is too volatile to remain with the dollar or yuan.

Back in the 1990’s, the Keys were declared a National Marine Sanctuary. Took several years and much work to attain the designation.

BOB got upset at a time thereafter. The federal government decided it wanted to build a missile launching pad at Cudjoe Key. To test antiballistic missiles launched from Cudjoe to Panama city.

The National Marine Sanctuary and a missile launching site seemed inconsistent to BOB and he vented re the situation.

I am unaware of the missile site ever being established at Cudjoe Key. Bob Smith’s opposition must have helped.

In recent years, we have been told that in a 100 years, non-whites will outnumber whites in the U.S. A recent study indicates an acceleration. The study now indicates that by 2045, there will be more non-whites than whites.

A major contributing factor is that whites are dying faster than white babies are being born. The study indicated increased white births would not help. The whites are too far behind.

Such is life.

Enjoy your day!

 

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Walt Disney hit with a bang this day in 1937 with the premier of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The first feature length animated film. Took in $8 million its first weekend.

Critics thought it would be a loser. They referred to the film before its release as “Disney’s Folly.”A lesson learned: Don’t always listen to those who supposedly know more than everyone else.

Who can forget Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, Sleepy, Doc and Happy? Whistled While They Worked: Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go…..

A happy film. Good to be recalled. Even better, to be seen again.

An old friend in Key West last night. Years since we have been together. Dinner at Antonia’s.

Catch up conversation.

After dinner, Mike had things to do. I decided to stop at the Chart Room. Glad I did.

Met Dee Elder from Kansas City. She lost one breast to cancer.

Seems I am getting a mastectomy education lately. Jenny two months ago in the Chart Room. She had a double. Explained the whole procedure to me. She was happy with her new breasts. Intended having her nipples tattooed on.

Seems women who have had to undergo a removal of their breast(s) want to share the experience with everyone. Dee went so far as to show everyone her breasts.

Magnificent! More magnificent, the work performed by the doctors.

Dee had only one removed. She had papillary breast cancer. She explained papillary cancer does not jump from one breast to another.

Her breasts beautiful! Both balanced and appeared the same in size, etc. The doctors do some work on the remaining one to make sure the two breasts look alike when all is done.

We got into nipple tattooing. Thanks to my previous conversation with Jenny.

Dee’s nipple was tattooed. I could not tell. A 3-D tattoo. The shadowing made it appear slightly erect.

Dee told me that only medically licensed tattoo artists were permitted to do the tattooing.

Should my mastectomy education continue, I may write a book on the tattooing aspect. A follow-up to Irma and Me.

This is Dee’s 23rd visit to Key West. Once a year for 23 years.

She is here with her husband to the 26th so I anticipate running into her again. She will probably expose her breasts again. She is proud of them. Good for her!

Need some help. I am looking for Julie from Canada who I met a few weeks ago at the Chart Room. The same Julie I had written about two times earlier re her split toe ring and its magical influence upon Key West during Irma.

Her husband, Conrad.

Julie, please write me at louispetrone@gmail.com. I need your assistance in something I am doing.

Big event tonight! Custom House from 5-9. A holiday concert and bazaar. Guaranteed to be a winner! My friend Dr. Cori Convertino involved with the event.

The tax bill in reality our government for sale. To the rich donors who fill the Republican election coffers with mega dollars.

They want to rule the country……from the shadows.

Trump working his alienation powers again today. At a meeting of the UN General Assembly. A vote regarding the U.S. having declared Jerusalem Israel’s capital and advising it would be moving its embassy there.

The U.S. is going to take a beating. A big one!

Trump has advised that those who vote against the U.S.’s position could face repercussions. He threatens to cut aid to any such country.

Niki Haley said the U.S. would be taking names re those who vote against the U.S. position.

What kind of bullshit is this? Trump’s way in this regard similar to those of an authoritarian figure. Men like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

No way to make friends! No way to keep friends!

The Mayflower Compact signed this day back in the 1620’s by the Pilgrims before they disembarked from the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock. Signed by 41 adult male Pilgrims.

No women were permitted to sign. Second class citizens back then.

It took a few hundred years. Women however have come a long way!

Enjoy your day!

 

IRMA EVACUEE REUNION

First stop last night was Tammy. My manicurist.

The woman a charm. A mere 34 years old. Born Vietnam. In the U.S. 14 years. Already a proud U.S. citizen. She and husband Rick owners of a thriving nail business.

Always enjoy my half hour with her. We talk of many things.

Then to the main event. Irma evacuee reunion. Those of us who fled the hurricane and ended up spending 12 days as the “guests” of Jean and Joe Thornton at their Birmingham, Alabama home.

Five of us and three dogs.

We bonded.

Only one failed to make the reunion. Dan. Ann, Haywood, Joanne and her friend Tim, me, and the Thorntons at Alonzo’s.

We drank, ate and overall had a good time. Just as it was in Birmingham those 12 days when we were hiding from Irma.

I wrote Irma and Me based on the evacuee situation. Publisher still has not got it out. Thought it would be available for sale three weeks ago. Still waiting.

Most of us ended up at the Chart Room following Alonzo’s. Packed. Streets empty. The Chart Room overflowing. Tourists. I suspect our group were the only locals.

A stimulating evening for me.

Met Jenni and Spence from West Memphis, Arkansas. A great couple!

Jenni a former history teacher. I liked her right away. Now, a high school librarian. Charming and beautiful. Husband Spence a farmer. Soybeans and rice. The farm 5,500 acres. A corporation. Employs 10.

No strangers to Key West. Visit frequently.

Celebrating Spence’s 38th birthday.

I spent most of the evening talking with Spence. An education! Spence is knee deep in the farm situation, Monsanto, pending tax litigation. All tied together. He and an uncle own the farm. They work hard to keep it in their hands and not have to sell to another entity.

A constant battle. Though not hurting financially, the battle one for survival.

Spence opened my eyes to many things.

An interesting announcement in this morning’s Key West Citizen. KWAHS and the Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit are merging. The Williams portion will continue operation at 513 Truman Ave.

Tennessee Williams lived 40 plus years of his life on Duncan Street. He authored The Rose Tattoo. During this week in 1954, Hollywood began filming The Rose Tattoo two doors up from Tennessee Williams’ home. Bert Lancaster and Anna Mangani starred. Mangani received the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance.

My daughter Lisa and family live one block in the other direction on Duncan from the Williams home.

I continue to live and learn. A commandant of the U.S. Marines was born in Key West. General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. Born November 3, 1913. Served as the 24th Commandant of the Marines, 1968-1972.

Ran into Bill from Boston again a couple of nights ago. Would like to run into him again. An interesting person.

We talked college football the first night. I a Syracuse grad. He, Boston college.

The other night he mentioned as we passed a Boston College glory year. Not sure whether 1920 or 1922. Both glory years for Boston!

In 1920, Boston college beat Holy Cross in the season’s final game. Boston went 8-0 that year.

Nineteen twenty two another big Boston College year. Beat Holy Cross 17-13 before a crowd of 54,000. A record for attendance at the time.

Syracuse/Florida State today. Florida State a 6 point favorite. Syracuse could win.

I continue to believe the economic recovery is built on sand. The high market numbers artificially inflated by global central banks. The rich getting richer. the poor, poorer.

A recent study indicated 78 percent of Americans live pay check to pay check. Also, 71 percent are in debt.

Trump left for Asia yesterday. An 11 day trip. He will visit 5 countries.

One is China. Trump is out of his class when it comes to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Trade will be a big issue. China in a much better position than the U.S. as regards trade. If Trump achieves anything, it will be minimal.

An under current in the discussions will be oil and the petrodollar. Way back when, an agreement was entered into where most of the oil trading countries would sell oil using American dollars. A boon for the U.S. Helps keep the value of the American dollar high.

A month ago, Trump thought he was screwing Venezuela’s President Maduro. He sanctioned the hell out of Venezuela. Basically forcing American banks and business persons to stop doing business with Venezuela.

Unfortunately, Trump cannot see beyond his nose. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. Maduro announced that henceforth Venezuela would not sell its oil based on the American petrodollar. It would sell based on the Chinese petro-yuan.

The first major oil producer to break the age long pact that the American dollar was to be used. China happy. Russia, also. Other countries may follow. The result will be the devaluation of the American dollar.

Such will take place over a number of years.

Good job, Mr. President! As you claim, you are one smart man!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

GEORGE

I was paying my bill at the bar at Antonia’s last night. Sensed someone behind me. Turned. A lovely blond. Magnificent. Hair style a bit different. Short punk? Punk pixie? Short spiky? To me, they all look alike. The cut marvelous.

It was obvious she knew me. I could not recall her. It was George. George is a lady.

I have seen George probably six times in fifteen years. The first time at Lisa’s wedding. The event at the Southernmost Beachside. We took over the restaurant and entire beach. Food and drink stations everywhere.

I was at one of the martini bars. A young lady spoke to me. George. She introduced herself as a friend of Lisa’s. My recollection is we enjoyed two apple martini’s each as we talked.

I recall not the specifics of the conversation. Recognized George was a deep thinking sensitive woman. I enjoyed our time together.

As mentioned earlier, last night was the sixth time I have seen her in 15 years.

George is a bartender at Hogsbreath. When we first met. Even  today. Dillon her husband.

We exchanged a few pleasantries. Then invited me to join her friends at the other end of the bar. She wanted me to meet Joni, a relative newcomer to Key West.

I knew Dillon, Nic and Cori Convertino.

I refer to Cori normally by her title. Doctor. She has a Doctorate. Impressive. She is the Curator at the Key West Art and Historical Society (KWAHS).

Cori’s work brilliant. Her shows and offerings at the Custom House beyond the best. I have come to admire her greatly.

Nic, her husband.

I was introduced to Joni. Told she read my blog everyday. Such made her an instantaneous hit with me.

We walked to the other end of the bar and chatted.

Originally from outside Philadelphia, she has lived in Key West six months. Already bought a place. A condominium on Petronia between Duval and Whitehead.

Joni has an MBA. Spent a lifetime working in finance for Sunoco. Already employed in Key West. With KWAHS.

Attractive. A nice person. I sense we shall meet again.

Sitting next to me during dinner were Jan Gebhart and Bob Pracher. A Key West love story. Both widowers. Now have a home in Key West.

In her other life, Jan was in the scrap metal business in northern Indiana. We had much to talk about. I was an environmental attorney. Sheet metal and environmental lawyering go hand in hand.

Bob impressed me. He owned a BMW distributorship in Westbury, Long Island. Third largest in the country. Sold 4,000 BMW’s a year.

Nicole bartending. Seven straight weeks. TK stayed north with his mother extra long. TK back tuesday. Nicole will return to waitressing.

I enjoyed Nicole’s company as bartender. A charming engaging woman.

Prior to Antonia’s, I was at Kate Miano’s Gardens. The Gardens was hit hard by Irma.

The property extensive. Surrounded by a large wooded area. Huge trees. Some probably back to Indian days.

Many wiped out.

There was one empty area relatively large. I thought perhaps a guest house had been situated the spot. No. Merely tall trees. All gone.

Irma has effected her business. She had to return deposits in the six figures. No insurance to cover the tree losses.

Kate is one of the smartest and aggressive women I know. She and her Gardens will recover.

Saw many friends. Jean Thornton one of them. My joy to see Jean. We will have a special bond the rest of our lives.

Earlier in the day, Sloan and I spent four hours finalizing work on Irma and Me. Tedious. E-mailed everything to the Publisher. He advised the book may be out by week’s end.

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders and I know not what else.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

KEY WEST BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN COORDINATOR RESIGNS…..GREAT!

I am rarely excited about the decisions of the Key West City Commission. They make decisions, pass rules and regulations, and then sit in the corner like Little Jack Horner. Each sticking his thumb in the pie and coming up with a plum. Saying simultaneously…..What a good boy am I!

Decisions off the wall. They throw money at everything. Frequently not the solution.

Last year, the Commission hired a Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator. Chris Hamilton. Never met Hamilton. Began to think he was crazy as he got into the job.

The man moved. Earned his salary by making changes. Changes I considered not always good.

Bikes his job. He removed parking spaces and replaced them with bike lanes. He added bike lanes in dangerous places.

The man was pro-bike and anti-car. He forgot we who drive cars worry constantly about hitting a bike rider who with his 5 member family are rolling down a Key West Street. Some of the kids 4-5 years old. Then there is the 60ish woman who probably has not been on a bike in 40 years. She has trouble keeping her ass on the seat and wobbles uncontrollably.

I could go on.

I hope the position remains unfilled. Traffic congestion and parking problems have to be decided at one time by a group. Not piece meal. The City may be moving in that direction.

Got to the Chart Room early. Before 5. Wanted to see John about something. My self phone lost his number.

My game plan was to go from there to bocce. Never made bocce. The Chart Room was too interesting and fun to leave.

Met George. Nice guy. 47. From New Jersey. A software engineer. Could have been an Arts major. Reads everything. Big on Hemingway.

George visits once a year with a group of friends. One a police officer from Red Bank. The officer’s police patch hangs on the Chart Room wall. He proudly pointed it out to everyone.

George told me about Pompous Hemingway. A book of sorts by Hemingway. I tried to find it this morning. Could not. George, if you are reading this blog this morning, e-mail me how to find the book in the Comments section. Forget the long number you gave me. Turned out I did not know how to use it.

The new amphitheater is constantly discussed these days. Who to name it after? That person or company pays a fee for the privilege. Normally, very generous.

Several names have been mentioned. Jimmy Buffett one of them.

The anti-Buffett talk is amazing. Many do not want the facility named after him. Hard to understand. Jimmy Buffet is a part of Key West as much as Hemingway and Tennessee Williams.

A local I had never seen before was sitting at the other end of the Chart Room bar. Attractive. Her feet up on the bar stool next to hear. In her slightly inebriated high pitched voice she was berating Buffett as a choice.

In the very room where Buffett got his start!

Key West has bright stars in many areas of accomplishment. Dr. Cori Convertino is one.

Cori is affiliated with the Key West Art and Historical Society. She is the Curator at the Custom House.

She is a recognized maritime history expert.

Cori recently completed a two year project. The Flagler Railroad section of the Custom House. Fantastic!

She has been invited to speak at the U.S. Naval Academy September 14-15 at a maritime symposium. Her topic to be involves Commodore David Porter and his anti-piracy efforts in 1823 which effectively eliminated piracy from Key West waters.

Sally Rand was a famous fan dancer for many years. Even into her 60’s. She lived in Key West in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

I met her in 1965. At a convention at Grossinger’s in New York’s Catskill mountains. I was attorney for the group holding the conference.

Sally was retained to perform one evening.

I met her the night before at a small cocktail party at the Grossinger residence. At 60, Sally was still beautiful. We hit it off and I spent much time the next two days when not working in her company.

I was unaware she was the lady friend of one of my client’s officer staff. A secret friend. They had had a tiff.

Three days following the convention, I received a letter advising my services were no longer required and I was terminated.

A learning experience.

Harvey has displaced one million persons. Forty four dead. The number will increase as more bodies are found. Beaumont is a community of 120,000 persons. They have no drinking water.

The sadness of it all.

Irma is on the way. Similar in power to Harvey. Still two thousand miles away. A hurricane already. Expected to be a 4 when it hits in a week. Winds will be 140 miles per hour plus.

Whether it will reach land or turn north up into the Atlantic not yet certain. At this time heading for the Bahamas. Too soon to determine its impact, if any, with the United states.

After Harvey, I am concerned. I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Enjoy your day!

 

OUTSTANDING FLAGLER RAILWAY EXHIBIT

Slept late. Bed followed by a meeting. Ergo, blog late today. Sorry.

I went to the opening of the Flagler Railway Exhibit at the Custom House last night. Outstanding!

Curator Dr. Cori Convertino performed well. She was in charge of the exhibit. A permanent one. A lot of work and time had to be involved. The finished product made it worthwhile.

I could not find Nicky’s drawing of Flagler. It’s there. I will return when there is no crowd and I can take my time looking.

Dr. Convertino in attendance, of course. All decked out in long. Looked terrific! A hug and a kiss of congratulations.

Ran into George. George is a female. She bartends at Hogsbreath. For at least 15 years.

I had not seen her in years. She never changes. I told her so. Looks the same as when I first met her at Lisa’s wedding 13 years ago.

Walked over to the Chart Room following the exhibit. Another fun evening.

Sheila was there. First time in three months that I have seen her. Sat next to her.

Linda Cunningham seated next to Sheila. She contributed to making it an enjoyable evening. In her other life, Linda was an editor. In Key West, she is a Board member of The Stars and Stripes.

Kevin and Holly at the other end of the bar. Chatted with them briefly. Holly her usual lovely self.

Met Grace and Steve. They reside in one of the Villages. Visiting Key West for the holiday weekend.

Grace into legal case management. Steve a former crane operator. Now, retired.

Nice people. Steve especially expressive.

John handled the bar well. Joined in the conversations when he could.

Zbigniew Brzezinski died. Eighty nine years old. A distinguished American. He was National Security Adviser under President Carter. He succeeded Henry Kissinger in the position.

Brzezinski’s family escaped Europe before World War II. Amazing the heights Brzezinski attained.

He is the father of Mika Brzezinski, one of the Morning Joe hosts.

The Rainbow Flag. One and a quarter miles long. From one end of Duval to the other. An expression gay pride.

A portion of the flag is referred to as Section 93. It has been exhibited in several parts of the U.S. and as far away as Australia.

On January 11, Section 93 will participate in a unity and pride parade in Washington, DC. The Equality March for Unity and Pride. It will lead the parade.

Big time sailboat races no more in Key West. For thirty years, the Key West Race Week held in waters off Key West. A big deal!

Unfortunately, participation has dwindled. In 2001, 326 boats. In 2016, 130. This past January, 90.

The numbers explain the cancellation determination.

At a Trump rally in March, Senator Jim Kane’s son was present. Senator Kane was Hillary’s Vice-Presidential running mate.

The son is Linwood “Woody” Kane.

Young Kane was opposed to Trump. He and friends disrupted the rally. One threw a smoke bomb.

That was March. He was arrested this week for his activities at the rally. My question: Why did it take two months to arrest him? Does not make sense.

You can always find an outside the box event in the Keys. This afternoon a dog wash fundraiser. Sponsored by the Sheriff’s Department. Being held at the Keys Animal Hospital. The proceeds go to the Florida Keys SPCA.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

WHITE MEN BEHEAD TOO

Saudi Arabia and most Middle East countries behead. Historically, many other countries have beheaded.

It was 1637. The place Groton, Connecticut. The Pequot Indians and settlers were not getting along. Seemed the whites were on a mission to exterminate the Pequots. Several battles occurred before the Groton one. The settlers the winners each time.

Seven hundred Pequots had gathered in Groton for a green corn dance. Dutch and English mercenaries led the settler attack. All 700 Pequots were killed. By shooting, stabbing, butchering and burning.

In the victory celebration following the battle, the Dutch and English severed heads from dead Pequot bodies. Then partied by kicking the heads through Groton streets like soccer balls.

Bocci last night. My poor team still not with it. I may have to return.

The team lost the first game 16-15. Won the second 16-15. I left. Do not know the results of the third game.

The sadness of the whole thing is that the other team is in next to last place. Don’s should have killed them!

Chickens and humans have lived in peace with each other for years in Key West. Each group ignores the other.

Recently, the Key West Fire Department was called. A tragedy in the making. Two baby chicks had fallen through a storm grate. Death inevitable if not saved.

The event not a fire. Regardless of the situation not being their responsibility, the firemen went to work and rescued the two chicks. Reflects the heart and love found in Key West.

Big evening tonight at the Custom House. The Flagler Railway Exhibit opens. KWAHS and Dr. Cori Convertino’s baby. I plan on attending.

Tom told me at bocce last night that his wife Nicky’s drawing of Henry Flagler was part of the exhibit. Congratulations, Nicky!

I live and learn. Memorial Day around the corner. American flags will be flying all over Key West. Tradition dictates the American flag is to be flown at half mast till noon.

I doubt any will be. Who knew/knows?

Trump at the G7 meeting. The NATO meeting. His speech an insult to the U.S.’s European friends. The man is tasteless!

On top of which he exhibited he cares only for himself. A narcissistic bully.

Leaders of other nations were walking down a corridor. Trump apparently was at the rear. He shoved his way forward. Pushed the President of some small country out of the way so he could be up front and in the middle. Then he buttoned his jacket and looked ahead. solemn appearing. His jaw jutting out.

Reminded me of Mussolini.

Florida’s Governor Scott recently signed a bill into law removing feminine hygiene products from the sales tax. Tampons and menstrual pads. He referred to what he did as “common sense legislation.” The items being “necessary products.”

I ask why it took so long to recognize the fact.

Wear your seat belt from now till June 4th for sure. It’s click it time! Police will be looking to ticket drivers not wearing their seat belts. Includes others in the car required by law to wear a seat belt.

The ticket somewhere in the area of $160.

I got caught several years ago. I was wrong. Never the less, the size of the fine irritated me no end. Outrageous!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

HITLER REVISITED

History repeats itself. No question. In one fashion or another.

Recall Auschwitz. Hitler’s pride. An example of German efficiency.

The gas chambers were so effective, that the bodies could not be disposed of fast enough. Mass graves were not doing the job. Crematoriums came into play. Burn the bodies! Quicker, cleaner, less burdensome. Also, ashes not discoverable in later years. Mass graves are.

Some 70 years later comes Syria’s Assad. Guilty of mass executions. Problem was body disposition and secrecy. A crematorium was constructed at Sednaya Military Prison. Problem resolved.

Note Assad has killed thousands without resort to judicial proceedings.

Assad is supported by Russia and Saudi Arabia. The United States supports the rebels opposing Assad. Russia is supposedly not the U.S.’s friend. Perhaps Trump’s however. Saudi Arabia has become a much closer friend since last week’s visit by Trump. Trump was sucked up to big time.

Zeroing in on Saudi Arabia, how can the U.S. be friends with a friend and supporter of a mass executioner such as Assad?

Trump forgets who our friends are. He plays up to despots while insulting and ignoring those who have been friends of the U.S. for years.

I was correct re the effect of the south wind yesterday. The rain storm came at 6:30 last night. Heavy and prolonged. Streets flooded.

The last block to my home deeper in rain water than I have ever seen. I questioned whether I should drive it. The alternative was walking through water 12-18 inches deep. I said screw it. Hit the pedal hard and rammed through the water.

The Chart Room first last night. Kevin and Holly there. John bartending. Quiet. We chatted for a couple of hours. A lot of laughing involved.

Stopped at Outback on the way home for dinner.

Memorial Day Weekend begins tomorrow. Key West will be buried in tourists. Everyone having a good time.

Much will be going on. One of the highlights of the weekend is the Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta sunday. Don’t miss it! Lots of laughs!

Dr. Cori Convertino is a talented woman. She is the Curator at the Key West Art and Historical Society. Located at the Custom House.

Tomorrow night a new exhibit opens. One Dr. Convertino has spent months working on. Overseas to the Keys: Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway Exhibit.

John Kennedy had a way of inspiring. He made us feel we could accomplish the impossible. He gave us pride.

On this day in 1961, Kennedy announced his plan to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

We believed him!

Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon on July 21, 1969.

Kennedy pride. Not the Trump pride Trump tries to foist on us.

Staying with Trump for a moment, Trump reminds me of what happens when a pebble is thrown into a pool of water. The circle caused where the pebble hit grows. Ring after ring. Each larger than the previous

Sort of like……Woe the web we weave when first we seek to deceive.

Enjoy your day!