THOMAS EDISON AND THE LITTLE WHITE HOUSE

One of the greatest inventors of modern times lived in the Little White House for six months. Thomas Edison. Around 70 at the time, the U.S. government looked to him for weapon development at the beginning of World War I.

Edison lived and worked in the same building made famous by Truman’ s many visits years later.

Edison developed 41 weapons during his six month stay.

I spent yesterday rewriting and polishing two chapters of Growing Up Italian. Will I ever finish this book? The funny part is the writing will be 3-4 books. The first is sub-titled The First Six Years.

Mel Fisher’s name is embroidered in Key West’s fabric. A name for the ages. Never to be forgotten.

Fisher struck gold and other rare jewels on July 20, 1985 after many years of searching. He sought the Atocha. He found it after roughly 15 years of searching.

Value of the gold, etc. $450 million.

On this date in 1986, Fisher presented Queen Sofia of Spain with a bronze cannon from the Spanish galleon. The presentation took place in Washington, D.C.

Trump is diminishing the image of the United States world wide. In a very short period of time. He has succeeded in pissing off most of the free nations of the world. Those autocratic, he is turning from enemies to friends.

Trump neither understands nor appreciates the need for friends world wide. Friends with values. Character. Not despots.

Tanks are effective. Especially by authoritarian regimes. Against those who protest their governments.

Two uprisings come to mind. Hungary and China.

The Hungarian Revolution occurred in 1956. Began October 23, ended November 10. The protesters using stones and molotov cocktails. The Soviets, troops and military equipment.

The soviets finally got tired of the constant street fighting. Soviet troops and a handful of tanks fighting the poorly armed rebels. Mostly students.

In one day, the troop number and tank number were increased Dramatically. The revolution was over. Force won out.

Two hundred thousand Hungarians fled Hungary immediately.

Total Soviet troops engaged 31,55o. Tank number 1,130.

I was fortunate to become friends with one of the revolutionaries. A Hungarian college student. He attended Manhattan College during my senior year. He said, we were throwing rocks and molotov cocktails. They came at us with tanks from every corner. The revolution was over.

Tiananmen Square another example of tank power.

One hundred thousand students began the protest on April 15, 1989. Their numbers enlarged daily by workers, intellectuals, and civil servants. The protest went on for seven weeks.

The Chinese government finally had enough. The tanks went in on June 4. The protest was over. Hundreds killed. Thousands arrested.

I love the comic sport poem Casey At The Bat. I have used the poem’s final line many times to express my sorrow at a Syracuse defeat.

Casey At The Bat was published this date 1888.

The line: “…..there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.”

Enjoy your day!

BERLIN’S WITH FRAN AND TOM

I am not a happy camper at the moment. Hit the wrong key and lost today’s blog prior to publishing.

Here I go again. Breviated, however.

A great evening. Dinner with Buffalo’s Fran and Tom at Berlin’s. Wonderful people! A fun evening!

A hug and kiss from Janyne. Always a pleasure to be on the receiving end.

Sloan there, also. Introduced me to her twin sister. Don’t look that much alike. However, Sloan has a unique voice. Her sister has the same unique voice.

Discovered Sloan’s daughter hosts at A & B. An absolute beauty and charming young lady.

Bria her usual lovely self. Sean and Gage bartending. They remind me of New York City bartenders. The best! Great personalities!

Fran lost 30 pounds. Atkins. I hate her!

Fran continues to care for me. This trip she brought me three frozen containers of sauce, meatballs and pork. Three meals. She forgot the homemade pasta in Buffalo. She carries the frozen sauce in her suitcase.

Also brought me a container of her home made candies. All kinds.

I think she likes me. Feels sorry I lead a bachelor’s existence.

I was their guest last night. Tonight, Donna and Terri are taking me out.

Must have done something right in my life.

Weather sucks. Fourth day in a row. Heavy rains today all day.

The Conch Republic Drag Race on Duval at 2 this afternoon. The guys will have to lift their skirts as they run to keep them dry.

The Great Sea Battle friday night. I can’t wait. Love it!

Even Harry Truman involved in Conch Republic Days. The Little White House is sponsoring a Truman Legacy Symposium this weekend. At the Little White House, with a few of the talks at the San Carlos Institute.

I was with my bocce team mates thursday night. My cheering them on did not help. They lost two games.

Hard to understand. For five consecutive years, the team has done exceptionally well. Fighting for first place some seasons. All of a sudden, nothing works right.

Keys History section of today’s Key West Citizen carries a picture of Robert Wagner and Peter Graves standing on Duval. This day in 1953. They were here with several other actors making the movie 12 Mile reef.

I was a freshman in college at the time.

The picture shows a very young Robert Wagner. Graves went on to have a successful cowboy TV series.

Other notable stars included Terry Moore, Gilbert Roland and J. Carroll Nash. The big stars Moore and Wagner. The others well known character actors.

They all stayed at the Casa Marina.

Amazing how many movies have been filmed in Key West over the years.

Enjoy your day!

ROBOTIC SOLDIERS

Ironic.

Yesterday, I spoke about robots on my live video show on Facebook. A topic I have discussed many times over the last two years.

My point robots are already here. Will be in greater numbers over the next 2-3 years. In every aspect of our society.

Yesterday’s video concerned Wendy’s and MacDonald’s who are already involved. Both will move forward dramatically over this year.

Now, I read this morning that robotic soldiers are around the corner. The corner being ten years. I would suggest earlier as robot implementation moves rapidly.

Can you imagine? No more human bodies being maimed and killed. Let the robots do it!

Another segment of Go Live concerned China now permitting two child families. There are not enough young to take care of elderly parents. Nursing homes are rare in China. Care for the elderly a family obligation.

My yesterday began with a haircut with Lori. She just celebrated a birthday. A gentleman does not tell. She is still young, however.

Then to Farmers Market. Picked up 12 loaves of my favorite bread. Freeze most. Some day I will remember to ask the country of origin.

Lunch at 5 Guys on the Boulevard. Excellent! Heavy! Meant no dinner last night.

5 Guys on Truman and Duval has closed.

Bocce. Sat with Don’s Place and watched. My team, though I have not played in three years. Miss playing.

The team did not do well. Lost 2, won 1. Can’t give up games this early in the season.

Don is back. He missed last week. He was in Hawaii for a family wedding. Enjoyed Hawaii. The waiting/airport part left something to be desired. As those of us who have traveled to Hawaii well know.

Stopped and chatted briefly with my Sons and Daughters of Italy club members. Georgio, where were you?

Tonight, dinner with snowbird Diana Millikan. A unique woman. Interesting and wacky at the same time. Her sense of humor rubs wrong most of the time. In spite of which, I enjoy her company.

Remember the guy who ran down with his moped/scooter two Key Westers on bicycles a few days ago. While shouting “faggot” and “you are in Trump country now.”

The bad guy was from North Carolina. He has been arrested there. Plans on fighting extradition.

Little White House inaugurating a new event. An Easter egg hunt. The first annual Easter Egg Roll is scheduled for April 1. Kids up to 12 eligible to participate.

Syracuse/Georgia Tech at 4 tomorrow. Each must win to receive serious attention for the NCAA Tournament.

Every now and then something bothers me. Requires a venting.

Eugene Robinson is an Associate Editor of the Washington Post, a columnist, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a frequent participant on Good Morning Joe. I like the man. Admire and respect him.

Robinson and his wife visited Key West last year. They return this year. Today or tomorrow I suspect. He and his wife may have vacationed here in previous years also.

I for one am honored that Robinson has selected Key West for his get away home. Perhaps he will join us full time when he retires.

My problem. Robinson is scheduled to speak Monday at 6 at the Key West Theater. On behalf of the Friends of the Key West Key West Library. Admission free.

I discovered yesterday that he is appearing at The Studios of Key West Sunday. Admission being charged. $250 for a one hour meet and greet and seat for his talk. If one opts out for the meet and greet, the charge is $40.

I doubt the money is going into Robinson’s pockets. Probably a fundraiser for The Studios. Whatever, wrong.

Many of his stature vacation with regularity in Key West. They frequently speak. For nothing. It is wrong for The Studios to use Robinson in this fashion!

Enjoy your day!

 

MEASURING DICKS

We live in dangerous times. You do not need me to tell you.

A recent crisis that has the capacity to bring matters to the boiling point is Turkish planes shooting down a Russian jet. Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan are issuing inflammatory statements. Each threatening the other.

Turns out Putin and Erdogan do not like each other. There is personal animosity between them for other reasons. These guys will go nose to nose.

Pavel Felgenhauer is a defense analyst. He bluntly described the situation as follows: “Right now they’re measuring dicks, and that’s very dangerous.”

My yesterday began with a doctor visit. I decided to have breakfast out following the visit. Tried Sq. 1 sitting outside. Years since I have done it. I was pleased. Good food. A great place for people watching.

The Key West Aloe store is on Duval just around the corner from Duval Square. I stopped in. Wanted to try their shaving gel. No shaving gel.

I thought how sad the old Key West Aloe store on Front street is gone. The new owners moved the store and everything else several years ago to another spot in Florida. The new Key West store tiny. Well done in brown and white colors, as are the tubes of aloe products. No aroma.

A lovely place. However, nowhere as large and as nice as the one I remember.

Yesterday was Syracuse basketball again. The final game of the Atlantis tournament being played in the Bahamas. Syracuse beat Texas A & M 74-67. An excellent victory.

The other three teams in the tournament were all ranked. Syracuse, not. Syracuse will be when the new rankings come out monday.

Good wins for Syracuse. The two games tested Syracuse. We still lack that one extra tall muscle bound big guy unfortunately.

An interesting season ahead.

The Keys Coral Reef is bleaching. Not good. Could be bad, though not necessarily. Depends on things I am not familiar with. Extreme warm water doing it. Second consecutive year the bleaching has occurred.

The hurricane season ends in a couple of days. November 30 to be exact. Vultures have returned. Large congregations of them.

We do not need the date to tell us the hurricane season has ended. The return of the vultures signifies the end of the hurricane season. Nature telling us.

I continue to be repitious. Truman loved Key West, Key West loves Truman.

On today’s date 1949, Truman, wife Beth and daughter Margaret arrived for a three week vacation.

Two China items of interest.

China has a large growing middle class. They want all the things the middle class of any nation expects. One is good food. Beef to be precise.

China does not have enough beef to satisfy its middle class. No problem. A 14,000 square meter factory is being built at a cost of $313 million. Its purpose, to clone cows. The plant is expected to produce 100,000 embryos a year.

Reports indicate cloned beef ok to eat. Tastes like the real stuff. A question arises. Is this another GMO situation?

China continues to expand militarily. China is establishing its first military base in Africa. In a little country called Djibouti. The base is the first expansion of China’s military power beyond the Asian Pacific.

Bocce playoffs today. A big deal, as I continue to tell you. Exciting. We play at 3. If we win, at 6. If we win again, tomorrow.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

PALM SUNDAY

Palm Sunday is significant in most Christian churches. It was in the Catholic Church I knew.

Key West probably never had a problem with palm sufficiency. Up north in Utica, I can recall a time when palms were scarce for some reason. Either costly or unavailable. Instead of getting all the palms you wanted at Mass, one had to settle for a single branch.

Palm Sunday was special in the Italian tradition. Palms were exchanged. Family and friends would come to our house and exchange palms with us. Followed by coffee. We went to certain homes and exchanged palms.

It was family dinner time! In and of itself should not have excited me. Every Sunday was family dinner time at my grandparents’.

I had an uncle who was talented in manipulating the palm branches. He could make crosses of all sizes, little hats, etc. It was always good to see him as I would walk away with a lot of “loot”.

The celebration of Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Palm branches were placed in his path.

When palms were plentiful, my neighborhood Catholic Church had many palms left over. When the shortage hit, I assume they kept some. The reason being that this year’s left over palms are needed for the next year’s Ash Wednesday. The left over palms burned. The ashes used to put  thumbprints on the foreheads of the faithful.

This morning’s Key West Citizen’s Keys History section carries a post card picture of  Little White House and Naval Station circa 1910. What a difference from today

The Little White House had an excellent ocean view. There were no buildings between the Little White House and ocean. Condos, other buildings and the boardwalk  not yet built. The water was a short uninterrupted walk out the back door of the Little White House.

I spent yesterday afternoon researching this week’s KONK Life column. About things most people are not aware, but should know. I will write the column today. I have not decided on a title yet.

Last night was me and a busy Key West. Tourist driven.

I went for dinner to Tavern ‘n Town. Wanted to listen to Bobby Nesbitt, also. No way, Jose! the place was mobbed. Not a bar stool available. Bobby said it was crazy. I agreed and left.

My next stop was the Chart Room. I figured to run into some people I knew and quietly drink the evening away. No luck, again! The Chart Room was packed. Very much so. No locals. I was not in the mood to meet and chat with strangers.

Turned around and walked over to the Hot Tin Roof. Same situation. Tons of tourists. No problem, however, a table in the bar area was waiting.

Spoke with Joseph a bit. Joseph is the Hot Tin Roof manager. He is also the warden at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. A good man. We talked about St. Paul’s.

Then home. Could not sleep in bed again. My hip. Spent the night in the recliner chair. No problem. slept like a baby!

Enjoy your Sunday!

TRUMAN’S VACATION HAVEN

The History section of this morning’s Key West Citizen notes that on this day in 1950, President Truman arrived in Key West for a one month vacation. The month long stay is indicative of how much the President enjoyed Key West.

It was not the first time Truman had visited Key West. He actually visited 11 times. His 11 stays totaled 175 days. Key West his home away from Washington.

Truman would stay at what is known today as the Little White House. Back then it was the Commander’s Quarters on the Naval Base.

Truman did not sit on his butt the whole 30 days doing nothing. An aide accompanying the President set forth in detail what Truman did every day.

He would come with an entourage. His close staff, a couple of Generals and Admirals, a cabinet member or two, and some close friends from Independence. He would walk in the early morning, work most of the day. In between work, he took time some days to visit the beach  where he did some sunning and swimming. Occasionally, he fished. There is a photo of Truman in his undershirt sitting in a small flat boat fishing.

His evenings were generally the same. A couple of drinks followed by dinner. Then cards. Truman enjoyed playing cards and did so every evening. Enjoyed another drink or two. Then to an early bed. Around 9 many evenings.

Truman left an indelible print on Key West. He is an integral part of Key West history.

Last night was Don’s Place for a while. Many from the bocce team there. Don, David, Stan and Clare. The conversation centered around bocce and Syracuse and Ohio State basketball.

The cupboard was bare again. Stopped at Publix on the way home.

A couple of years ago, I read somewhere that supermarkets in poor neighborhoods would raise their prices on the days welfare checks were received. I think Publix is doing it here and now in Key West. Not for welfare recipients, however. Since the season started, prices have inched up and there are fewer sale items.

With Syracuse not playing in any post season tournaments, my basketball interest has faded. Big time! When I had Syracuse to follow, I would also watch other teams play. Now, I could care less.

Bocce tonight! The team is off to a better than usual start. May we keep it going!

Enjoy your day!

GOING OUT TODAY

I continue to heal. Black eye lighter. Still obvious. Cuts by eye not totally healed. Scab fell off lip. Cuts still obvious, however. Back better, but not good.

It is called progress.

I have not shaved since wednesday. I have a good start on a beard. Not sure which way I will go.

I have been in since wednesday night. Time to get out of the house today. A brief walk somewhere. Tonight the Friends of the Key West Library at St. Paul’s. Author Edward Hower is speaking re his latest book about writing personal essays and travel stories.

Syracuse plays Virginia tonight, also. Normally, I would miss the Friends event and watch the game. It does not make any difference this season however. Syracuse plays Virginia, #2 in the country. I expect it to be as the Duke game went saturday.

If I work things properly, I should be able to watch the second half of the game.

Syracuse only has two games remaining. They have won 18 so far. The goal is always 20 wins. It has been years since Syracuse failed to reach 20. Though two games are left, I see Syracuse losing tonight. Which would mean that at best it might only be a 19 win season.

Nobody’s fault. It was a hard year for Syracuse from the beginning. Three players from last year expected to return this year did not. They went pro. Our big freshman center was injured early on and has not been able to play. I am not even throwing the NCAA investigation into the mix.

Wait till next year! The whole team returns with the exception of Christmas.

There was an article of interest in this morning’s Citizen. A four year study has revealed that Big Pine, No Name., and Bahia Honda have the lowest death rates in the County. Makes sense. The area is quiet country. Limited hell raising. Tranquility.

On this day in 1951, Harry Truman started a three week vacation at the Little White House. I often wonder if he ever visited the local haunts in the Duval Street area. We know he read, swam, fished and walked. Enjoyed a drink. Truman is recognized as a regular guy. He had to be at Sloppy Joe’s on occasion looking for the next Hemingway to talk with.

Enjoy your day!

 

NEW MOTELS

The next 3-4 months will see the completion of the new motels being constructed on the Boulevard across the street from the Marriott Beachside. From construction completed thus far, they are beautiful to behold.

I believe the new motels will create a new business dynamic for Key West. A new play area for tourists and locals alike. Due to the new Boulevard construction, there is a sidewalk running along the front of the motels. People will be able to go from one to the other with no problem.

Each motel will probably have a restaurant and bar. One or two will become unusually popular.

Parking becomes another attraction. Key West City fathers have parking completely screwed up. There will be no parking problem at the motels.

I wrote next week’s KONK Life column yesterday. Black Panthers Return. An eye opener. They are back. This time however considered to be on the right. They have come alive in Dallas. The resurgence caused by Ferguson. It was the last straw.

This week’s KONK column is available for reading on today’s KONK Life E-Blast News. Rank Insubordination. Re the New York City police and Mayor de Blasio situation. Interesting factual reading. Definitely opinionated.

Decided on Kelley’s last night. A good crowd. Sat at the outside bar and enjoyed. Chatted with various tourists. All happy with Key West!

Every now and then I feel compelled to write about Harry Truman. My hero! One of the best Presidents ever!

While President, Truman made 11 trips to Key West totaling 175 days. He loved Key West. He worked yet found time for enjoyable leisure activities. He relaxed, walked, swam, fished, played cards, and slept. I suspect had Hemingway been in Key West at the same time, they would have been great friends. Can you envision Truman and Hemingway seated at the corner of Sloppy Joe’s bar?

Truman stayed on the US Navy base at what has come to be known as The Little White House. The Little White House was built in 1890. A two family dwelling, it housed the commandant and paymaster. In 1911, the building was converted to a one family. Historically in preparation for Truman, though no one knew it at the time.

This morning’s Key West Citizen carries a picture of Tennessee Williams standing with his dog on the front porch of his home on Duncan Street. The home is as well kept today as it appears in the photo. A credit to owners who came after Williams. Shows respect not only for the house, but also for its historical significance.

Facebook this morning has a photo of Bob and Helen Marks taken on their wedding day in a Lutheran Church in Portland, Maine. I am in it! First person on the left. Thirty four years ago. I was best man. I had hair, was thin and, if i may say so, looked good. What a shocker!

Though I have congratulated Bob and Helen a couple of times this week already, congrats once again to two wonderful people!

Don and Chris are back! Don probably from somewhere in the Far East. He spends 80 percent of the year doing business in Asia. The two are die hard Syracuse fans. Syracuse basketball will predominate the conversation.

Don and Chris, I will be at the Chart Room tonight at 6 looking for you. If Dan is in town and you know how to reach him, have him join us.

Enjoy your day!