STONE CRAB SEASON A DISAPPOINMENT

Stone crabs!

My favorite food. The favorite of many.

Next to impossible to find. If available, expensive. Like $8 for a small one.

Why no stone crabs?

Two reasons.

The first Irma. Screwed up what is below the water as well as that above.

The other, cold fronts. Crabs are driven to the Keys by cold fronts. We have not had one yet this year. The cold this past week kid stuff compared to a real one.

Fortunately, the stone crab season lasts till May 15. We should have a cold front or two by then. Hopefully crabs galore. Unless Irma’s impact on them more significant than thought.

Yesterday’s blog lacked a most important saturday afternoon event. The Syracuse/Georgetown game. Syracuse won in overtime 86-79.

A typical hard fought game. As in the old days when the two teams met in Big East games.

Georgetown was up by 13 in the second half. Syracuse fought back and tied at the buzzer. Syracuse then out scored Georgetown by 7 points in overtime.

The best Syracuse game I have seen in a couple of years.

Go ‘Cuse!

I stayed in saturday night. The success Irma and me is having caused me to remain home working on my next book. Growing Up Italian. Irma has motivated me to do more.

I should have been out and about.

Doug Jones and Jimmy Buffett in town! Unannounced.

Jean Thornton has many friends. Someone called her and said be at Margaritaville at 8. Tell no one. Jean was not told why she should be there. She suspected maybe Buffett.

She was there. So too were Buffett and Doug Jones.

Jones and wife Louisa are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary at a friend’s home in Key West. Jean is from Alabama. A Republican, of course. She rushed up to Jones excitedly and told him it was the first time in 28 years she had voted Democratic.

Then Buffett appeared. He played his guitar and sang for one hour.

The place was packed! Jean not the only one who had a friend. People out on the sidewalk for a look see and to hear Buffett.

Buffet sang Stars Fell Over Alabama in honor of Jones’ victory.

Nice that Buffett decided to “…..headin’ back to Key West town.”

Today’s Key West Citizen had only a few photos of the Lighted Boat Parade. Looked good! Also, a few photos of the first I Love Stock Island Lighted Boat Parade. Looked good, also.

The first I Love Stock Island Boat Parade and other events appear to be the beginning of a tradition. Go Stock Island!

I was out and about last night. Began with Kate Miano’s Gardens.

Terri White performing. My love! For the first time since her cancer surgeries. She appears on the mend.

The crowd was large out of respect for Terri. She failed them not. Her singing, Terri! Nothing changed. Outstanding.

I chatted with Terri, Donna, Tash, Kate, Jean, and Libby York amongst others. Also, Jan Gebhart and Bob Pracher. Had not seen them in a while.

Last night was the first time I met Libby York. Her singing well known beyond Key West. Places like New York, Chicago, and Paris.

Libby will be performing at The Gardens in a couple of weeks. She also opens thursday and every thursday thereafter at the Little Jazz Room Club.

Libby not new to Key West. She has had a home here since 1980.

The New York Times described her as “a juicy singer of cool composure and artful subtlety.”

Jean and I had dinner later at Antonia’s. She is supposed to leave today for Birmingham on Delta. Not sure she will get out.

I am still on the diet. Seem to have plateaued. Lost only one pound this past week. I have not cheated once. Ergo, the only one pound loss bothers me. I need to see success on the scale!

Enjoy your day!

I AM WOMAN

Two items of historical significance occurred this date, though in different years.

The year 1972. Helen Reddy’s brilliant song I Am Woman hit the top of the pop charts. A work for the ages. Perfect for the burgeoning women’s movement. One of its beginnings.

I Am Woman’s words involved personal empowerment. Identified women as a class unto themselves.

The song still with us today. Reflected in the sexual harassment issue facing society today.

Women have come a long way!

The other event of historical significance occurred in 1854. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade was published. The charge having occurred at Balaklava during the Crimean War.

I first read the Charge in high school. It resonates with me to this day. “Into the valley of Death / Rode the six hundred / …..Their’s not to reason why / Their’s but to do and die.”

Dinner at Donna and Terri’s last night. Donna cooked special for me. My diet. Pieces of beef. Delicious.

Terri looks better each time I see her.

The Lighted Boat Parade was scheduled for tonight. Canceled. Rescheduled. The weather.

Raining like hell already. Temperature has already dropped. Sixty nine at the moment. High will be 72. Mid to high 60s during the canceled Boat Parade. Sixty two when I wake tomorrow morning.

The cause has to be the snow storm moving northeast out of Texas. Key West will not experience snow. Don’t think we ever have. However, we are being hit with the outer limits of the storm. Cold and rain.

The Lighted Boat Parade has been rescheduled for next saturday.

The cold spell will be with us till thursday.

The Sheriff’s Animal Farm’s annual Christmas event tomorrow. One to 3. Wear a sweater or jacket.

What would Christmas be without Larry Smith? Larry’s annual Holiday Jazz Concert friday at The Studios of Key West. Always an enjoyable event. I will be there.

Wife Christine will be singing as only she can.

Leave well enough alone! My words directed to the Catholic Church.

Pope Frances announced he wants to reword the Lord’s Prayer. After 2,000 years!

His concern is with “Lead us not into temptation.” Claims it sounds like God is leading us into temptation when in reality it is the devil.

Blames the problem on the translations of the Lord’s Prayer over the years.

The Lord’s Prayer is part of the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christian traditions. Basically as presently worded.

There has been a movement in the Church towards the change for several years. Frances lending his support by his announcement.

The Catholic Churches of France and Spain have already adopted the change.

I remember years ago when the Catholic Church changed the Mass from Latin to English and mandated Church goers sing during services. I believe the Catholic Church lost half its followers because of the two changes.

God help Donald Trump! He needs it.

His very recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is having immediate consequences. Three days of fighting in the streets between Israelis and Palestinians. The violence is escalating by day. Yesterday, rockets from Gaza into Israel, retaliatory air strikes by Israel on the Gaza Strip.

Trump is bristling to get us into a war.

Richard Cohen in a recent article in the Washington Post made several interesting comments re Trump: He “has made us a meaner, smaller people.” “Moral principal has been replaced by political cowardice.” “This is America’s darkest hour.”

Eugene Robinson writes for the Washington Post, also. He recently wrote that the Party of Lincoln has devolved into the Party of Trump. The GOP today belongs to Trump.

The Republican Party no longer can claim the mantle of honesty and purity.

Displaced boats in the lower Keys because of Irma exceeding the number anticipated. Thought to be 1,300. Up to 1,500 already raised and cleared. More to go.

Overall in Florida, 2,069 boats have already been raised.

Irma did its job!

The State immediately began replacing trees following Irma. The trees are replanted close to each other. We have learned that planting trees close to each other helps them survive strong wind storms. The trees break the wind and protect each other.

Syracuse/Colgate at 2 this afternoon. Syracuse will win.

Irma and Me’s sales numbers good. Higher than expected at this point. I am pleased.

Irma and Me is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

Thus far, Irma and Me is the only book written re a person’s experiences involving Irma.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

WARMTH OF THANKSGIVING

Love the holidays! Especially Christmas and Thanksgiving. Christmas my favorite. Thanksgiving runs a close second.

I miss the large family gatherings for dinner. All ages. The dining room table for adults. The kitchen table and card tables for the young. Age determined seating. It was a big deal to graduate to the adult’s table. Took a long time for some. I recall one of my daughters being 22 before she made it.

Kitchen smells. Thanksgiving the best. The turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pies….all coming together as one from early morning. By the time dinner rolled around, you were really hungry.

Unfortunately, the holidays change for some. I for one. You live long and things do not remain the same. Does not mean the holiday is not enjoyable. Merely means you miss that which was.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stopped into the Chart Room around 8 last night for a couple of drinks. John bartending. Three tourists at the bar. Good conversation. An enjoyable evening.

Syracuse basketball has begun. Syracuse beat Toledo last night 72-64. Syracuse now 5-0. Means nothing. The big schools play the little guys early in the season. Provides practice and easy extra wins.

FEMA spending a lot of money in Monroe County. Properly so. $53 million so far. More needed. The money spent to provide assistance to homeowners and renters for housing and other needs.

Returning from Hollywood two days ago, parts of US 1 still sit in areas resembling a war zone.

Irma and Me available. I added on to the end of the book a chapter titled Post Irma. At the time, I thought the cleanup and return to normal would have occurred by now. No way. Irma was a big one!

Irma and Me is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

The hurricane season officially ends in a week. November 30 to be exact. Don’t depend on it. The season used to end October 31. Then a hurricane or two hit after that date. Hurricanes tend                                                                                                     not recognize deadlines. So the day was extended a month.

Could still get hit by another one!

One of Key West’s most spectacular events is the Lighted Boat Parade. People decorate their boats, whether large or small, as one decorates a home at Christmas time. Then on one night, they all go out into the waters off Schooner Wharf. An armada.

An event! This year on saturday December 9.

You can watch from shore or go out on one of the boats. On a boat more exciting. However if it is a cold evening, it is colder on the water. You freeze your ass off!

I was in Hollywood monday preparatory to my heart catherization. I was not the only stranger in town. An 8 foot crocodile was discovered resting on the beach.

The middle class continues to die. The average U.S. household is $137,063 in debt. Thirty eight percent of millennials live with their parents.

One of my nurses tuesday mentioned she has three children. Two in their mid 20s, one 18. The 18 in college, living home. The other two working and living at home.

All refuse to contribute to their keeping. They do little to assist Mom and Dad around the house.

Yesterday, I demeaned Trump because he was returning 60,000 Haitians to Haiti. They have been here almost 8 years following Haiti’s massive 2010 earthquake.

Amongst other things, I referred to Trump as heartless.

I have to take it back as regards the Haitians. Though I believe the man is overall without sympathy for anyone, it was announced late yesterday that Trump has granted the Haitians an 18 month reprieve.

The man plays God.

Maduro continues to do a good job as Venezuela’s President. In 5 years as President, the country has run out of toilet paper, food and jobs. Inflation has now hit 4,000. How does Venezuela survive? I continue to be shocked the people have not revolted.

Signs suggest perhaps a massive earthquake in California. San Francisco and Monterey County.

One hundred thirty-four earthquakes suffered last week over a 3 mile stretch. Magnitude 2.5-3.0. Seismologists are getting nervous.

I end on an exciting note.

On this day in 1984, Doug Flutie threw his famous last second Hail Mary pass as Boston College beat Miami 47-45. The ball on the wings of an angel as it traveled down the field.

Enjoy the holiday!

TWEAK NOTHING

Redoing South Roosevelt Boulevard on the stove top. Things heating up.

The Florida Department of Transportation wants to redo the Boulevard. One item, reducing from 4 lanes to 2. Ridiculous!

I fear the City Commission might support the move.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

A public meeting was held last night at Sheraton Suites. Called a Workshop. To hear from the citizens what they thought. Standing room only. Except for state and some local officials, most attending were opposed to doing anything. Bullshit was up front. The state and local officials saying the intent was to merely tweak the Boulevard.

The attempt is based on a 1999 study. Updated 2014 to pay more attention to bicycle riders.

The age of the study bugs me. Seventeen years to get to this the last step. A very unpopular one. An attempt to foist an unneeded plan upon us.

Another idiotic consideration is that a center turn lane is required. No one is going to turn towards the ocean side. Nothing there but sand and water. The other side does not have enough construction to warrant a center lane. The entire Boulevard does not have sufficient traffic to require one.

My fear is that eventually the 4-2 lanes thing is going to become a fait accompli. Nothing like a public servant with allocated monies to see that the dollars are spent. Regardless of need.

Did my podcast show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Enjoyed doing it. Russian hacking and robots/artificial intelligence two items discussed.

Rex Tillerson is Trump’s designee to be Secretary of State. I got into him a bit. Not as to his qualifications. As to his hypocrisy. Texas hypocrisy.

Tillerson is CEO of ExxonMobile. World’s biggest oil and gas company. Fifteenth richest corporation in the world.

Fracking produces gas. ExxonMobile is the largest natural gas producer in the U.S. Tillerson obviously a major supporter of fracking.

Tillerson and wife live in Bartonville, Texas. On an 83 acre horse farm worth $5 million.

Tillerson is opposed to anything having to do with fracking near his home.

A fracking company wanted to erect a 160 foot water tower near the properties of Tillerson and his affluent neighbors. Tillerson and his wife joined in bringing a lawsuit to stop construction of the water tower around February 2014. Prior thereto, Tillerson appeared at a public hearing and said the water tower would ruin the view from his outdoor patio.

When the media picked up that Tillerson and his wife were involved in an anti-fracking lawsuit, the news spread. Two months later in April 2014, Tillerson and his wife withdrew from the lawsuit.

Tillerson’s position interesting. Fracking ok anywhere, except near his home.

Self-serving and hypocritical.

Lighted Boat Parade tonight. Finally. High winds cancelled the parade saturday night.

Christmas and Larry Smith go hand in hand. Every Yuletide Season, Larry does a Christmas show. This year saturday night at The Studios of Key West. 8pm. Called Christmas with Larry. A jazz Christmas show.

I have not missed one of Larry’s Christmas shows for I don’t recall how many years. That long. I will be there. You should. The show is worth seeing.

Today, a sad one in the history of the United States.  Several years ago, 20 first graders and 6 school employees were shot to death by a gun wielding nut at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.

If anything should have changed attitudes re gun control, the 20 little ones killed should have. For shame! It did not and has not.

We are a screwed up country.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

WEATHER DICTATES

The Arctic cold hit Key West last night. Not bad. High 60s.

I live on open water. My bedroom faces the northeast. I sometime think the cold air comes into the bedroom. Right through the poured concrete walls.

Felt like it again last night. I turned the heat on.

This morning, the northeast wind strong. White caps. Palm trees bending.

The Lighted Boat Parade scheduled for tonight has been cancelled. Reason, high winds. Rescheduled for wednesday evening.

I dined with Donna and Terri last night. Always fun. Terri in great spirits in spite of having had chemo in the afternoon. Terri thinning down. From a 12 to an 8. Had to buy new clothes.

My lesbian wives are the best! Our conversations cover everything. Never a dull moment when I am with them.

Syracuse plays Boston University at noon. When your team is having a bad time, television ignores your school. Third game in a row Syracuse will not be available for Key West viewing.

Ever hear of Amsterdam, New York? Forty miles from Utica. I used to travel through the town on my way to court appearances and the Saratoga races. There is a main thoroughfare named Kirk Douglas Boulevard or some other road designation.

Why? The movie great Kirk Douglas was born in Amsterdam.

Yesterday was Douglas’ 100th birthday. God bless him!

Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch. Born of immigrant parents.

He tells the story that in his early years, he was always escaping his Judaism. Then in mid life he was involved in a helicopter crash. Two dead, others injured. He began looking at his religion again. Today, a devout Jew. He performed his Bar Mitzvah again several years ago.

For whatever reason, I am having a mellow morning. That accounts for the Kirk Douglas story. There are two more I wish to share. Helen Reddy and I Am Woman, The Charge of the Light Brigade.

I Am Woman. A song of female identity. Part of Helen Reddy’s 1971 album I Don’t Know How To Love Him. Reintroduced as a single in 1972. A #1 hit in short time.

Reddy wrote the lyrics. Reddy, both performer and songwriter.

Moving lyrics from I Am Woman…..

I am woman, hear me roar

No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

I am strong

I am invincible

I am woman.

The Charge of the Light Brigade was published in 1854 by Alfred Lord Tennyson. England’s Poet Laureate at the time. The poem recounts the Crimean War’s  Battle of Balaclava. The poem written to honor Britain’s Light Brigade.

Poetic lines of significance follow…..

Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred

Theirs’ not to reason why, theirs’ but to do and die

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Into the mouth of Hell rode the six hundred

When can their glory fade?

O the charge they made!

Great poetry! Exciting words! Tennyson wrote the poem a few minutes after reading an account of the battle in the British daily The Times. It took him only a few minutes more to write the poem.

Enjoy your day!

PIGS

I am upset this morning. Venting time.

Pigs does not refer to the four legged kind. Rather, those two legged. Man.

Two items in this morning’s Key West Citizen tick me off. Both have to do with the constant gouging of Key West Citizens.

One article concerns Stock Island’s Sunset Marina. Slip fees are being raised $5 a foot. The fees were raised last year also.

Most live on a boat because it is cheaper than buying or renting a home. Significantly. However with slip prices shooting up as they are, such will eventually no longer be true.

The other concerns towing fees.

The City Commission wants to raise towing fees from private properties by 35 percent. Increase other items also. Like allowing towers to charge up to $135 an hour where extraordinary effort is required. Everything will be extraordinary!

People are forced to leave Key West. More and more each year. They cannot afford the cost of living. The cost of living is much like the hills and steps which confront me in Greece and Italy. Everything up, nothing down.

Salaries contribute to the problem. Most are low paid hourly jobs. As time progresses, it is inevitable that a shortage of available employees will occur. Then, salaries will go up.

Getting back to the towing situation, the City Commission should be ashamed the way it handles Key West’s parking problem. It takes space away and raises parking fees for the limited space available. People are forced to park where ever they can. Such results in towing.

My yesterday began with a doctor visit. Another kind. Doctoring almost an every week thing. Then to Publix for a few things.

I had to hurry home after Publix. I was scheduled to be interviewed for 15 minutes on KONK News by Don Riggs. I had moved the time up to 12:45. Just made it.

Don and I had an interesting discussion re the Holocaust and the survivor Helen Sperling.

The evening was the best! The VFW on Northern Boulevard for dinner.

A big sign sits in front of the VFW building. Public Invited. I decided to try it. Glad I did.

Food good. Prices reasonable. Company excellent. A different breed of Key Westers. Veterans. They openly enjoy themselves. A happy group. They did their time in the military. Most fought. They have earned the right.

Met Schmegly. Spelled correctly. Looks like a thin santa Claus. A magnificent beard.

Schmegly has spent thirty years working Mallory Square at Sunset. Initially making creatures for children out of ballons. He considers such work an art. Today, he plays a banjo or guitar and sings.

Schmegly also walks Duval later in the evening playing the banjo. He refers to himself as a troubadour.

He makes his living from tips.

Schmegly’s real name is Richard Sloat. I never did find out how he got Schmegly out of Sloat.

He looks like an old timer you would find at Schooner Wharf.

Lighted Boat Parade tonight. An experience. Watch it from Schooner Wharf.

Tomorrow, the Parade of Paws. In the morning. Starts at Higgs Dog Park. Santa Claus will be there. The dogs will parade.

Key West loves dogs. Not only do we have Dog Park, we also have a Dog Beach. One of the best beaches in town. Right next to Louie’s Backyard.

A Saudi Arabian Prince referred to Trump as a “disgrace to America.” The Prince should talk. The pot calling the kettle black.

Saudi Arabia has much to answer for. The largest number of beheadings a year. No competition world wide. They abuse women. Do not permit them to drive. If an adulteress, stoning the penalty. Or, let a family member kill her and not prosecute the family member.

Enjoy your day!