SHITHOLE COUNTRIES

“Shithole countries…..”

Racist. Bigoted.

Nordic. Aryan.

Authoritarian today. Totalitarian tomorrow.

Democracy being tested as never before.

Finally! Got new eyeglasses yesterday. Took 2 months and 3 prescriptions. I can see! Everything distinct and visible. Street signs, buildings, etc. Colors vibrant. Like when I had cataracts removed 35 years ago.

Dinner last night at La Trattoria with Jean Thornton. My  Birmingham hostess following my escape from Irma. Husband Joe was supposed to join us. He has pneumonia. Very tired.

They return to Birmingham today. Will return 3 months from now. Two months at home in Birmingham followed by a one month trip to some part of Europe.

Following dinner, Jean went to Vino’s and I to the Chart Room.

I was to meet Kentucky David at the Chart Room. He was waiting when I arrived.

Met David here a few years ago. He and his wife are snowbirds. They own a second home in Bahama Village. Kentucky home. David a die hard Kentucky fan.

The blog brought us together. Occasionally, we watch a game together at Jack Flatts. On an evening when both Syracuse and Kentucky are playing. Though not each other. We sit at the bar next to each other. Two TV sets in front of us. One with the Syracuse game, the other Kentucky.

David has taken to writing. A mystery. He told me about it.

Takes place in Key West. His fact pattern amazing. David has a vivid imagination. Characters and events I could never come up with.

My publisher advised me once to write a mystery or love story. They sell the best, he said.

I could not get into the mystery. I lacked the necessary imagination. Tried a love story. Publisher said lots of sex. Thought the writing would be a snap. No, again. I found it difficult to put on paper that which I might have experienced.

Met Laura and Jamey. From Iowa City, Iowa. Told them how much I admired Iowans. Shared with them the loving story of my Iowa friends Cindy and Tom.

Jamey sells financial products. Laura a stay at home Mom. Three children.

Laura and Jamey were married at the Pier House 9 years ago. They have returned to Key West once a year since.

Walmart announced yesterday that the new tax law made it possible to do something for its employees. The starting hourly wage was raised to $11 an hour, employee benefits expanded, and bonuses up to $1,000 depending on length of employment.

Sounded good.

Walmart failed to announce plans to close  60 or 63 Sam’s Clubs. Affects 11,000 employees. They received notices of the closings via FedEx during the day. Some went to work before receiving the notice to find locked doors and signs indicating the closing.

Give with one hand and take back with the other. Hero and heel at the same time.

I am old enough to remember Amos ‘n’ Andy. A popular radio show when I was a kid. A comedy.

Two fast talking black men from the Deep South who moved to Chicago to seek their fortunes. However, the black men were not black. They were white men imitating black men. Freeman Gosden and Charles Carrell.

Amos ‘n’ Andy became the most popular radio program in American history. Ran 22 years.

I mention Amos ‘n’ Andy because I recall frequently listening to it. And because on this day in 1926, the show first aired.

Broadway Joe Namath. Alabama football star. New York Jets star quarterback.

Super Bowl III time. Pro football divided into two leagues. The NFL and AFL. The AFL relatively new. The NFL tried and true. Considered superior.

Two teams met this date in 1969 in Super Bowl III. New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts. The money on the Colts.

Three days before the game, Namath announced to the world the Jets would win. In fact, he guaranteed it.

The Jets did win. 17-6. One of the greatest upsets in American sports history.

Enjoy your day!

 

TIP STEALING AND SEX NIGHT AT THE CHART ROOM

A doubleheader today. Two columns in one.

Keys Energy screwed things up yesterday. Made it impossible to get the blog out and had me sitting on South Roosevelt Boulevard forever waiting to make the turn north onto US 1.

Keys Energy was doing maintenance work from 8 to 2 yesterday in our neighborhood. No power, no wi-fi, no nothing. Keys Energy also was doing some big time electrical work at Cow Key Bridge. A huge crane rising out of the water.

I begin with tip stealing. An example how Trump is taking from those who earn less and giving to those who earn more.

The Trump Administration announced a proposed rule which in effect amounts to tip stealing. Affects waiters, waitresses and bartenders, as well as kitchen help.

Permits restaurant employers to illegally pocket tips earned by employees. If the employer pays minimum wage, the employer can legally pocket “pooled” tips. Tips that could be shared with other restaurant staff such as chefs and dishwashers.

Dollar amount involved estimated at $6.1 billion per year.

It is claimed many restaurant owners are already pocketing a portion of the tips illegally. The Trump proposal legalizes the illegal.

I mention tip stealing because it affects many Key West restaurant workers.

Spent the afternoon working on Growing Up Italian. My next book. Getting there. See light at the end of the tunnel.

Attended Mary Lou Hoover’s fundraiser at Kate Miano’s home. Many people. A success. Kate’s new home divine.

Mary Lou running for a Key West City Commission seat.

Jean attended the fundraiser with me. Then we enjoyed dinner together at La Trattoria.

Key West native Sebrina Maria Alfonso returns to Key West friday evening with the Southern Florida Symphony. The Symphony was born in Key West 20 years ago.

The theme of the performance involves Ernest Hemingway. The event at the Glynn Archer Performing Arts Center.

The contract was let for the construction of the Custom House this month in 1888. All that building for $107,955.96! Money bought a lot more in those days.

Speaker Ryan announced taxpayer funds will no longer be used to pay suits against Congressmen with regard to sexual harassment matters.

Talk is cheap. It took a law to permit the use of taxpayer dollars in such situations. It will take a law to abolish the law.

Lets get it done pronto!

This is wild! Reading, home and street lights from leaves. Kale, watercress, arugula, and spinach. Eventually would replace electrical energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy has been funding MIT research to make it work. Already producing lighting power dimly.

Sounds like it will come.

Our friends the iguanas. Not really friends. Nasty creatures. I wrote recently they are overpopulated in Florida. They eat our flowers and shit in our pools. The State has initiated a program to eradicate or control them. Will end up like the pythons. Control. Eradication impossible. Too many already here.

This morning’s Comment Column on page 2 of the Key West Citizen advised that iguanas are available online from Puerto Rico. Fifteen dollars to $49.99 a pound. Referred to as Chicken of the Trees.

Iguanas are minimally eaten in south Florida. Purportedly taste like chicken Eaten big time in Central and South America.

Today’s blog begins here.

Sex in the Chart Room. Not real sex. Merely conversation.

Three couples. All tourists.

One mentioned that they had been at Teaser’s strip club till 2 am. Hung over. Especially the husband. Husband and wife both enjoyed.

One of the other couples immediately decided they were going to Teaser’s when they left the Chart Room.

The third asked if there we any nude restaurants or bars in Key West. Oh, the reputation we have!

They were advised not. They were told about the Garden of Eden. The rooftop clothing optional bar on top of the Bull & Whistle. Completely open to the elements.

Cold last night. Mid 60s. Not the time to take your clothes off on the Bull & Whistle’s rooftop.

Could not disillusion the third couple. They decided to go anyway. If they ultimately did, even with clothes on they would have frozen their asses off.

Met Art and Sherry at the bar. Not interested in strip clubs or the Garden of Eden.

They have lived in Key West two years on a boat. Sits outside Turtle Krawl. Art mid forties. Formerly a CPA. Decided to give it up and live the good life in Key West. He drives a trolley by day. Thrilled with his new life.

Art not the first to have done it.

My yesterday included a haircut with Lori and Publix to stock up on more diet foods. Such is my life in Key West.

Duval has Christmas wreaths hanging from light poles from one end to the other. You feel the season as you walk Duval.

Omarosa Mangault Newman in the news. A White House Assistant to the President. African-American. The only White House black staff member. She had easy access to the President.

She was fired yesterday. By John Kelly. Her credentials taken. Reported she was accompanied off White House grounds.

Wonder what she will have to say about Trump.

The book, the book, the book! Irma and Me. Sales continue. I am excited. You might consider acquiring a copy yourself. Easy fun reading. Makes an excellent reasonably priced Christmas gift, also.

Today, friday. I have no plans for tonight. Regardless, I know it will turn out to be a fun time. Can’t miss in Key West!

Enjoy your day!

 

EMPOWERED

Last night was Donna and Terri evening. My guests at dinner to celebrate their anniversary and Terri’s birthday.

We were going to meet at Lucy’s. A new restaurant at the far Gulf end of Grinnell. Arrived first. Spent $12 to park my car in the garage next door. Ridiculous!

Lucy’s packed. A dozen people waiting for tables. Air conditioning appeared to be out.

Telephoned Donna and said Lucy’s a no go. We decided to meet at the bar of Half Shell Raw Bar. We would decide where to eat from there.

Key West is into season. Every restaurant would be packed. I saw what had been anticipated as a great evening turning into a pain in the ass getting a table somewhere.

As I was walking past the old PT’s on Caroline, I noticed it was now called the Bite. Basically a sandwich place. Sports bar of sorts. Had heard good things about the place.

Stepped inside. Not packed. Air conditioning working. Called my lesbian wives and told them to meet me there.

We had a great time! The food good. Many locals we knew filtered in during the course of the evening.

Terri bald. The chemotherapy. Thin. Lost a lot of weight. She was bundled. Cold. Her hands freezing.

She continues with chemo into April. Then the two of them are off to Tampa. A procedure available in Tampa. They will have to remain in Tampa.

The plan is to take Terri’s stem cells and grow bone marrow from them outside her body. Following which the new bone marrow would be introduced into Terri’s body.

Amazing! Terri a trooper!

The Women’s March entered into the conversation.

Donna’s daughter Stacie is the manager of Blue Heaven. One of her daughters is Hannah. Hannah a 17 year old high school senior.

Stacie, Hannah and some of the other Blue Heaven ladies made the trip to Washington and participated in the Women’s March.

Donna said she got a call from her granddaughter Hannah during the March…..Grandma, I feel empowered!

Donna’s son Scott and his wife Kathy marched in Boston. Scott described the Boston march to his mother…..There are no words!

I have another birthday to celebrate tonight. Dee’s. She wants to go to La Trattoria Oceanside.

Tomorrow night the bocce fundraiser at the bocce courts.

I will have had three busy nights by the time I am done.

Rick Dery one of the Dueling Bartenders. His picture appears in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast. He looks terrific!

On this day in 1943, the U.S. Army Air Force bombed Germany itself for the first time. The 8th Air Force did it. Took off from England. Fifty three bombers made Germany. Only three lost.

The bombing described as retribution. Germany deserved it. More would follow.

Former Mexican President Fox described Trump yesterday as Hitler. Many others have during the campaign and even to today.

Enjoy your day!

 

THE SQUEAKY WHEEL

It is time again! For the handful of righteous to complain about Fantasy Fest. Specifically, the nudity. More hearings. Press attention.

The group is a squeaky wheel. Receives more attention than deserved.

Fantasy Fest is an adult party. If the nudity offends, stay away!

Dinner at La Trattoria by the Ocean last night. Food good. Food always good over the years.

I tried Open Table to make a reservation. For 7 o’clock. Received a confirmation. Arrived at 7. The hostess told me my table was still occupied. I asked how long a wait. She did not know.

She had already noted I had an Open Table reservation. I reminded her of that fact. Give me any table. She said the next one. I told her I would be at the bar.

Forty five minutes and two drinks later, I returned to her. Asked pleasantly when I should start complaining? About what, she asked. I told her and reminded her of our earlier conversation. She remembered neither me nor the reservation.

She told me my Open Table reservation showed a no show/cancellation.

Politely, I said just give me a table. She looked up and said, Oh, I see one over there.

Ordered. A century later, still no food. A long wait. No drinks, either.

I do not know whose fault it was. I suspect the hostess. I was there on time. She probably failed to click some part of the Open Table program..

Anti-gravity treadmill in the morning. Research in the afternoon. Next week’s KONK Life column will tell the story of a female pirate.

US 1 and Northern Boulevard are both dangerous travel lanes. An accident slows down traffic and sometimes causes delays of 3-4 hours.

A three car crash occurred on US 1 yesterday. On Niles Channel Bridge. Minimum injuries, fortunately. Police directed traffic over one lane for two hours. During that time, traffic was backed up 8-10 miles in both directions.

An interesting fact. Locals do not seem disturbed when delays occur. An accepted part of the Key West life style.

Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. Visited our island 11 separate times for a total of 175 days.

In 1953 after leaving office, Truman decided to tale a family vacation to Honolulu. Wife Bess and daughter Margaret joined him. A Kansas City newspaper made it sound like a desertion of Key West.

Nothing farther from the truth. Truman returned several times to Key West after he left the Presidency. Stayed at a private residence those times.

Commercial air travel was not yet in vogue. It was a train from Kansas City to San Francisco. Then a boat to Honolulu. The Union Pacific Railroad and the liner President Cleveland.

Truman had been to Honolulu one time before. On his trip to Wake Island to chastise General Douglas MacArthur. When he landed in Honolulu, he refused a flower lei. Said it was not appropriate for a President to wear. On the later trip no longer being President, he accepted the lei.

The Catholic Church has screwed things up more than once over the years. Religion in general has.

On this day in 1633, Galileo made his first appearance before the Roman Inquisition. He was charged with heresy for advocating the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. The Catholic Church disagreed. The Church claimed the earth and not the sun was the center of the universe.

My problem is not with the Church’s ignorance. It is why the Church was even involved in an astronomical/scientific issue. One that had nothing to do with saving souls.

Greece, my Greece. Poverty and hard times still abound.

The Eurounion imposed a new and more severe austerity program on Greece last year. Since that time, farmers have had their social security payments tripled and their taxes doubled.

Last month, the farmers protested. In Athens. Eight hundred strong. Drove their tractors into town and blocked a main thoroughfare. A demonstration followed. Soon a battle between farmers and police. The farmers defended themselves against the police with tomatoes and shepherd’s crocks.

Question: Why was this scenario not reported to us by the media? I have no recollection of reporting or discussion.

If I am correct, it is further proof that the news we receive is selective in nature. I blame the corporations owning the various news media. They call the shots.

Enjoy your day!

8 FOOT CROCODILE IN POOL

We have everything in Key West.

Used to have many cats. Now, few. Some think the iguanas ate the cats. Chickens still around, though in fewer numbers. Pythons into the Keys. Only one so far in Key West. Two years ago. An 8 footer along the runway at the airport. Some think it may have been droped there.

Now, crocodiles?

Over the years, there have been a few sightings in the lower keys of a crocodile in a canal. Recently, one in an Islamorada pool.

A home fronting on the ocean. A pool between the home and ocean. Yesterday morning, an 8 foot croc seen in the pool. Authorities called. Nothing to do. Crocodile climbed out of the pool on its own and returned to the ocean.

No one wants a crocodile in their back yard. Whether Islamorada or Key west. Hope this was a one time occurrence. Islamorada is 77 miles from Key West.

What bugs me is that crocodiles are considered a threatened species. So says the federal government. Can’t kill them. Does not make sense. Crocodiles can kill humans, but humans cannot kill crocodiles.

Back on the treadmill yesterday. Felt good. Went slow. Spent the rest of the day writing. Dinner last night at La Trattoria Oceanside.

An excellent crowd. I walked around to determine local/tourist mix. I must have been the only local. Knew no one.

I spent five days nursing my cold. All five days spent at home. Killed the cold. Also rested my body. I felt rested yesterday. Ready to go! Must have needed the down time. I have been complaining to myself lately how tired I felt.

This week’s KONK Life column Late Night Diner published wednesday in KONK Life. Today, it is running in E-Blast.  It was also linked to my Key West Lou website this morning.

It is the story of artist Edward Hopper and his painting Nighthawks. People in a diner late at night.

Yesterday was National Hugging Day. Also known as National Hug Day. Not new. Began in 1986. Has grown dramatically world wide. Consideration is being given to renaming the day International Hugging Day.

The day was started to get people out of the lull/depression which hits between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

There is a most hugable person each year. The Most Hugable Person 2016 is Tim Harris of Albuquerque. Tim is a 30 year old Down Syndrome individual.

Tim has hugged people on National Hugging Day for purposes of charity fundraising. In 2014, he hugged 1,000 people and raised $6,000. Last year, he hugged 2,000 people and raised $13,000.

This day in 1912 was a big one in Key West. Overseas Railroad’s first train arrived in Key West. Multitudes welcomed the train.  It was Henry Flagler’s dream come true. A train from Florida’s mainland to Key West.

The 1935 Labor Day hurricane wiped out a good portion of the railroad and killed hundreds. The railroad took its biggest hit in the middle keys. The hurricane was a 5. Was labeled Storm of the Century.

The railroad bed and bridges were not rebuilt. The railroad had not been making money. Remnants of the bridges can be seen in a drive on US 1 through the middle keys.

There was no blog published wednesday. Many of you contacted me yesterday asking where it was. I don’t know. I did what I always do and thought it published. I went back yesterday and tried to find it. No way. I must have hit a wrong key and the blog is out there somewhere in never never land.

Sorry.

Enjoy your day!

BROADWAY 3 WAYS OUTSTANDING!

Mark Watson’s fund raiser for Fantasy Fest King/AIDS Help at Aqua last night outstanding! Without question. Seven years since Broadway 3 Years has been presented. The stars returned. Mark Watson, Bobby Nesbitt, Bruce Moore and Chris Thompson.

There was neither a seat nor standing space available. Everyone turned out. Everyone had a terrific time.

I enjoyed the show immensely.

Saw Mary again. Second time in two weeks. Mary was working the door at Aqua. Mary worked for me some 15 years ago taking care of my Key West home. A talented woman.

Decided to eat at La Trattoria after the show. Walked down Duval. La Trattoria closed. Decided on La Trattoria on the Ocean where I had been last week. The egg plant drawing me back.

Glad I went to the ocean side La Trattoria. Tiffany bartending.

Tiffany a friend from days gone by. Had not seen her in at least 5 years. When we first met, she was the bartender at Antonia’s. Left. Then returned as a waitress.

I last saw Tiffany at Antonia’s. We were happy to see each other last night.

Tiffany has a winning personality. She updated me on her personal life and other things. Now married. Has gone from 2 dogs to 3. Works La Trattoria on Duval. Duval La Trattoria closed till November 7. Kitchen being remodeled. She was filling in at the ocean side La Trattoria last night.

Tiffany bartending at La Trattoria Duval. Erin gone about 3 years.

I enjoyed the egg plant and Tiffany.

My yesterday began with the anti-gravity treadmill. First thursday. I am now up to 4 times a week. Working towards 5.

Three consecutive days a bit tiring. I will become accustomed.

Did my 10 minute bit on the KONK News Hour yesterday. 104.9 radio. Guy deBoer interviewing me re my KONK Life column this week concerning Pope Francis.

I learned yesterday that Conch Color has published its last issue this week. Described as a hiatus. So there is hope for its return.

Conch Life was Tom Oosterhoudt’s brain child. A paper full of photos of Key West events and people. Highly successful. Illness the reason for the temporary close down.

Tom has a bad back. Very bad. I have never met anyone with the problems he has had with his back. His mother Mary Ann Worth is getting on in years. Neither available to work the paper at this time.

Tom, get better quickly and back to of one Key West’s prizes, Conch Color.

Judge Peary Fowler has been a sitting judge for years. Quiet and unassuming. Rarely mentioned in the papers. Yesterday she became newsworthy big time!

She held a defendant in $13 million bail. Big! Unusual!

The defendant an alleged sex abuser. The victim  a girl, 6-13 years old when the acts were purportedly committed.

Justice!

One of the finest people I have been privileged to meet in Key West is Nancy Robinson. Nancy passed on recently. At 91.

Nancy can only be described as a class act. She was always out and about town till her recent illness. Loved by all.

Mother of 4, I only knew/know her daughter Martha. Martha a class act in her own right. She cared for her mother in the years before and at the time of her death. Care first class and without reservation. Sadly, few children assume the responsibility in today’s society.

No Syracuse football today. A bye week.

Enjoy your day!