HAPPY BIRTHDAY ATM

Everyone, everything has a birthday. Two days ago, ATM. Fifty years old. the first ATM having been opened on June 27, 1967. Barclay’s Bank in London.

Prior to ATMs, you could only get money out of a bank during bank working hours: 8-3. On weekends, not at all.

We have been spoiled!

Move completed yesterday. I am surrounded by boxes. Every room. Taking today off. Tired. Will get at arranging things hopefully tomorrow.

I am at Starbucks at the moment. Still do not have wi-fi or anything else Comcast provides.

I am going to head over to Verizon when I am done. I have a vague recollection I have wi-fi on my cell phone.

Chart Room first last night. Sat and slowly drank. Not crowded. Three couples sitting at the round table. From New York City. Boisterous. Loud. Laughing. Having fun.

Their bar bill over $300 for six people. When leaving, they apologized for the noise, etc. No problem. They said they were from the City and that is how NYC people are.

They tripped onto the Chart Room. First time. Loved it!

I got to show off a bit. Two of the ladies wanted to know about the names and ashes of those in the bar.

Dinner after the Chart Room at the Hot Tin Roof. One of my favorite dining places. Not last night.

I was not that hungry. Ordered bread and fried calamari. Asked for the bread first and quickly. Told the bartender I had been drinking.

Note the Chart Room charges for bread. $3. Stupid, but that’s the way it is. My bread did not arrive till I was almost done with the calamari.

Some nights you just can’t win!

May such be one of my biggest problems in life

A lawsuit has been filed in California federal court. Some group wants fluoridation of water stopped. Claim neurotoxicity and not consistent with the Toxic Substances Control Act.

I recall when fluoridation came to New York State. I was in high school. A bitter war. Many opposed.

Ten years later, dentistry as known then was not the best of careers. Fluoridation had cut back dramatically tooth decay. For many years, dental school was avoided by many.

Dentistry is back big time these days. Implants, etc. Fluoridation still around. Pseudo experts claiming it unhealthy.

I am 81 and still here.

Florida’s Senator Rubio is sometimes his own worst enemy. I happen to like him. However, he sometime says stupid things. He needs more maturity. Like another ten years. Then he might be Presidential timber.

His latest statement giving me concern is the Republican healthcare bill. He is not concerned that 22 million will be without coverage by 2016. He considers by that number “…..only a small percentage will be hurt.”

One of Key West’s favorite people was married on June 28, 1919. Harry Truman married Bess.

Enjoy your day!

CHARACTERS AND CONVERSATION

No question, Key West has its share of characters. Generally locals.

The description character not meant to be disparaging. It merely reflects the unique nature of Key West society.

Don’s Place is a venue where the conversation merits recognition. Perceptive, interesting, amusing, etc.

Ten years ago, I told don we should put together a show. One originating from Don’s Place. I suggested a corner of the outside bar. Light it up. Place several customers at the corner. Have them talk for two hours. Nothing special. whatever they chat about normally. Film it all.

The two hour film would be edited to a half hour. Then we would try to get it aired on TV.

A guaranteed winner!

Don said no. I could not convince him.

Someone has finally decided to try it. Take advantage of the unique snappy dialogue that can be found among Key West locals.

The Dive Shop on Northern Boulevard is behind the move. The creators Tom Jackson, a 30 year Key West resident and Rich Vaughan, a former Key West resident now living in New York City.

The stars Key West stereotypes. Played by locals and New York actors.  The title Lost Reef Adventures.

Shooting begins July 27.

Good luck, guys!

My day yesterday began with an early afternoon manicure with Tammy. Fortunate I had an appointment. Standing room only Saturday afternoons for nails.

Then to Urgent Care to have my back x-rayed. I still have pain in the ball on my left foot. Beginning to bother my left calf because I favor my left foot. The pain is less every day, however.

Diana Millikan back in town!

We had dinner together last night at the Waterfront Brewery.

Diana has leased a small condo on Northern Boulevard for a year. She will be playing a snowbird. Back and forth. Present trip till late this month.

Good conversation. Diana is a devoted Trump supporter. One of the blind. She refuses to see. The man is crazy.

Why England three times with the terrorists in  three months? Strange. Whatever, I hope the terrorists remain on the European side of the Atlantic.

The pending English elections might be the reason. Next thursday. Could it be the terrorists are trying to show that Theresa May is not doing a good job in protecting the English people?

If so, they have failed. She and her team have come up a winner each time following an attack.

The 19th Amendment was passed this day around 1918. Gave women the right to vote.

I am a student of history. I find it amazing that men have always tried to keep women down. Treat them as second class citizens.

Women have had to fight every step of the way. They still are fighting men who oppose their right to control their own bodies.

The wives of such political leaders should deny their husbands marital rights for a period each time they do some asinine  anti-female thing.

George Washington was not always a winner.

Young George was 22 and a Lieutenant Colonel in 1754. Helped build Fort Necessity in the Ohio Valley. A shack more than a fort.

The concern was for the French Canadians coming down and trying to take over what was then a British Ohio Valley.

Washington was unable to defend the makeshift Fort Necessity. He surrendered to the French and their Indian friends.

The defeat blossomed into the Seven Years War which began two years later.

Enjoy your Sunday!

OCTOPUS FOR DINNER

I enjoyed a rare meal last night. Octopus. Not squid/calamari.

The last time and only time I ate squid was on my Greek trip where I failed in attempting to climb the Santorini volcano. My poor body could not make it up the hill. I thought I was going to die.

The boat did not return to Oia immediately. It took us to a very small island. One tiny white stone house.Extremely small.  A larger white stoned bathroom building.

A husband and wife living on the island.

We had stopped for lunch. The couple’s place was the only game in town. The menu limited. Octopus and wine.

The octopus was a baby one. About three feet in diameter. Cooked on a large outdoor grill. The charcoal type we use in the U.S. The husband  kept basting the octopus with oil.

I was served a chunk of one of the tentacles. I would judge it was cut from the middle of a tentacle or closer to the body. About ten inches. One and a half to two inches in diameter. The skin a quarter of an inch thick. The center hollow and empty.

Absolutely delicious! Tender! Tasty!

I heard Bruschetta had octopus. Decided to stop and have some last night. Ordered it without looking at the menu.

Not quite the same as the Greek one. Size only. What I was served last night was the end of the tentacle. Slender. Totally filled with meat. The tiny suction cups part of the meal. A bit gross. Did not recall them on the island.

About 15 inches in length. Every inch a delight! I enjoyed each morsel. The taste the same as on the island.

For dessert, I enjoyed Sicilian cassata.

An outstanding meal!

Previous to Bruschetta’s, I was at the Chart Room.

A bunch from Philadelphia. Ate the hot dogs. John had to replenish the supply.

Chatted with one of the guys. He was very interested in the Chart Room. I explained David Wolkowsky’s  involvement. Threw in the Jimmy Buffett story.

Then asked since he was from Philadelphia, did he know Rittenhouse Square. Of course, a big Philadelphia deal. I then shared with him that Wolkowsky was responsible for its rejuvenation and what it is today. He was amazed. He did not know.

A couple at the end of the bar from London. Sixtyish. John and Marie. We chatted a while. Nice people. Interesting people.

John a retired London cab driver. The stories he had to tell! Drove a lot of movie stars. The nicest was Lauren Bacall.

Marie still working. An accountant with Zippo. The lighter company. They have a London facility.

I got into my Beefeater problem. Could find it at only one bar when in London several years ago. He was not surprised. Depends what the liquor distributors are pushing.

We talked about London food. Excellent! The London theater, also. Equally excellent!

About plane travel in Europe. Not like the U.S. Cheap. Meals on most flights. All the booze you want. Polite staff.

Trump watch out! Mueller will follow you to the ends of the earth! If you are guilty of any wrongdoing, he will discover it.

Tonight, a Custom House lecture. The Jewish Underground Key West 1918-1939. A large crowd expected. It is being held at the Tropic Cinema.

Have to move my ass. I have a haircut appointment with Lori this morning. Following which a visit to Farmers Market to pick up a few things.

I do pretty good for a bachelor.

Enjoy your day!

 

GRAND GUESTHOUSE

Over the years, I have asked hundreds of tourists where they are staying, happy with the accommodations, etc. Rarely do I meet those owning and/or operating the hotels, motels and guest houses.

Last night at the Chart Room, I did. Mike, one of the owners of the Grand Guesthouse. A place I have heard about from many visitors. Never once a negative response. All high on the place.

Mike and his wife own and operate Grand Guesthouse. Again, met Mike last night at the Chart Room. A nice guy. Apparently taking a couple of hours off.

The Grand Guesthouse is located on the other side of  Old Town. A quiet residential area. So residential that the Grand blends in with the rest of the neighborhood. Difficult to know from the street it is a guest house. Yet it is. One with 10 rooms, a pool, parking, etc. All the amenities.

The Grand can be found in the 1100 block of Grinnell. Adults only. A ten minute walk from Duval and the Atlantic Ocean.

Prices reasonable. Accommodations beautiful.

The Chart Room was unusually busy last night. John was busy.

Two lovely ladies sitting at the opposite end of the bar from me. The Grand’s Mike in between us.

The gals from Pittsburgh. Carey and Tracey. Carey a bartender. Tracy’s job described by her as inexplicable. I left it at that.

John told me Che alive and well. His nurse Cheryl went to his apartment. Che opened the door for her. He told Cheryl he just did not feel like going out. Two months?????

Che is turning into a recluse. Bad. He is 83. I am 81 and still get out most evenings.

Three guys from London showed up. Two getting married this weekend in Key West. The Pittsburgh ladies and Mike tried to dissuade them. To no avail.

Met a contemporary. Terence. A retired police lieutenant and Superior Court Clerk from Wilmington, Delaware. Contemporaries in that he is 80 years old.

His daughter is an attorney. His son in law into a phase of software. Terence’s wife with them. The four and a granddaughter all staying at the Pier House.

Terence and his wife are the designated baby sitters. Their daughter and son in law go out evenings or sneak away part of a day. The grandparents remain with the granddaughter.

They love it!

My yesterday began with a noon manicure by Tammy.

An amazing business she and husband Rick run. People moving in and out with regularity. Chairs  constantly turning over.

A money maker! Tammy and Rick made it so.

A little grocery shopping on the way home. My cupboard always bare.

Kentucky Derby this afternoon! I have decided to watch it at Don’s Place. The festivities begin at 4. The race at 6.

On this date in 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby. His time, 1:59:40. Best time ever! Still stands!

The Kinetic Sculpture Parade at noon today on Duval. Do not miss it! You will love it! The kids will love it!

Bria Ansara involved in everything Key West. An art educator, she will be doing a pre-parade workshop for kids behind the Custom House at 10. Opening them up to the joys of working with metal.

Tomorrow night at Aqua, Bria is hosting BOY-lesque. An all male review.

Bocce continues to be a disaster. I was there thursday night when the team lost 2 of 3 games. Can’t understand the downward trend after several seasons of top notch play.

Don’s Place was beat by Not Don’s Place. The Not Don’s is Larry Smith’s team. Several years ago, Don and Larry had words over I don’t recall what. Larry changed the name of his team to Not Don’s Place to break Don’s gonads.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

LOUIE’S BACKYARD

My yesterday included a visit to the dentist. When younger, I went with fear and trepidation.

Now, no sweat. I have implants. A once a year visit to check them out.

I left the dentist’s office at 3:30. Diana Millikan was to meet me at 4:30 at Louie’s Backyard. I decided to spend an hour alone and so went directly to Louie’s.

The restaurant not one of my favorite places. The outside bar in the back is. Sits on open water. The Atlantic to the right, center and left. Sun shining bright. A sailing boat or two in the distance.

God’s world!

Dog’s Beach runs along the side of Louie’s. A small beach. No more than 30 feet wide. Really for dogs. They were on the beach and swimming as I entered.

College students also. They had discovered Dog Beach. They have much to learn. Never would I lie or run around on Dog Beach. Animal excrement everywhere.

Chatted with a fellow seated next to me. Involved with Las Vegas casinos. Comes to Key West twice a year to dive.

He was experiencing a problem. He had gone through four masks yesterday. The first three kept filling with water. Thought it was his mustache. Cut it back three times yesterday till he got a tight fit.

Diana showed up. Diana is an excellent researcher. I would describe her as an investigative researcher. Brought a Key West book with her for my scrutiny. Maureen Ogle’s History of An Island of Dreams.

The little I browsed through interesting. Very.

I frequently mention William Hackley. The Key West Citizen runs daily excerpts from his diary. The year 1856.

Ogle wrote about Hackley some 25 years earlier in the late 1820’s and 1830 when he first arrived in Key West.

Some of Ogle’s observations warrant I begin with her overall view of Key West. Then, Hackley.

Key West was described as the crossroads of the Caribbean. World wanderers found their way to Key West. In the 1820’s and 1830’s, it was a man’s world. More men than women. The men mostly tough.

By day, they crowded the taverns, boarding houses, docks, and shops. Waiting for the next new wreck to be announced. Key West was a ship wrecking town.

Lawyers and agents were a different breed. They lounged on shady verandas in white linen suits and straw hats. Smoking Cuban cigars.

Night time, all type men were drinking and boozing. Everyone woke the next morning with a first class hangover.

Now comes William Hackley. A young lawyer. Late 1820s.

Hackley was a bit naive, socially retarded. Not worldized yet.

In 1830, he attended a 20 person dinner party. Four of the 20 were women. It was the first time Hackley had “eaten in the company of ladies.” He reported several of the ladies “got a bit merry.” Whatever that means.

It was not till the early 1850’s that Hackley married.

Callie Morehouse sat next to me. First time I meeting her. She is the Owner/Private Chef of Provisions of Key West. Does large parties and dinner parties.

An interesting lady.

With her was a younger friend from Paris. A beauty!

My eyes still work.

I dropped Diana off at her hotel and was home by 6. I am dieting once again. Wanted to prepare my own meal.

Today quiet. A manicure. Tonight, bocce.

I was shocked to learn Mike Hopkins is the new basketball coach at Washington. He has hung out 22 years at Syracuse waiting to succeed Boeheim. Next year was supposedly the year. I am not sure what happened.

My Trump comment today simple. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. So too will Trump.

I read something re healthcare by Kathryn Norris this morning. She described the health care bill as Reverse-Robin-Hood. Take from the poor and give to the rich. She viewed the bill as trading affordable healthcare for millionaire tax breaks.

Patrick Henry. On this day in 1775, he uttered the famous words “…..give me liberty or give me death.”

Heard from Anna this morning. She is in London. She was in London yesterday during the terrorist attack.

She has had similar experiences including the earth quake near her Novara home and an avalanche near Courmayeur where Anna has a chalet half way up Mont Blanc.

Claims she is “lucky.”

Enjoy your day!

 

VIETNAM LIVING MEMORIAL

There are certain times in our lives that are heart warming and uplifting. Rare. Yesterday was one.

The Vietnam Living Memorial was dedicated. I missed the dedication in the morning. However made the party from 4-7 in the afternoon.

An experience.

There had to be a 1,000 people. Most seniors. Sixties and seventies. White haired, bald, bearded, paunchy. Smiling , laughing and high fiving each other.

The Vietnam War ripped our country apart. Most were opposed to it. President Johnson wanted it. I have always believed he wanted to be a great war time President as Roosevelt had been.

When the Vietnam veterans returned home, there were no welcoming parades, slaps on the back. No thank yous. They never received credit for having put their lives on the line for their country.

Today, the U.S. as a people have come around to recognizing the wrong done. The veterans are from the 1960 thru early 1970 era.

Key West said thank you, we love you, to the Vietnam veterans yesterday with the dedication and then party at Bayview Park.

Six black granite stones with the names of the 362  who served stand proudly. As proud as the veterans celebrating the event yesterday.

After the Vietnam party, I headed to the outside back bar at Aqua. Knew Mark Watson would be bartending. Mark was recently crowned Fantasy Fest King. Enjoyed chatting with him a while.

Then to Tavern ‘n Town for dinner.

The bar quiet. A lovely lady appeared and sat several seats away. We started chatting. When I had finished dinner, I asked if I could move over.

An interesting person. Her name, Anush. Sparkling eyes. Originally from Armenia, she now lives in London. Vacationing in Key West. She is a cyber security consultant.

We talked quite a while of many things. Agreed to meet for dinner friday evening.

It was back to book writing yesterday afternoon. Knocked out another Growing Up Italian chapter. Revised and edited it several times before I was satisfied.

It is about medical attention in the late 1930s. Home bred. Who went to a doctor? Who could afford a doctor? Someone in the family always knew what to do.

I was 4. We lived third floor front. Something like Clorox was bought by families to clean clothes and whatever else. It was called bouledine. An Italian word. I am not sure I am spelling the word correctly. I googled and could not find what I was looking for. If any of you know, please e-mail me.

In any event, the bouledine came in gallon jugs. My mother gave me an empty jug and told me to place it in the hall with the other empty ones.

The hall was long. I was running. I fell. The empty bouledine bottle cutting the palm of my right hand below the thumb. A large piece of glass sticking out of the wound.

My mother screamed. My Uncle Frank came running up from the second floor. Uncle Frank was carpenter. He took care of the problem

He took a large bread knife and worked the glass out. Cutting me a bit in the process. Then took a needle and thread and sewed the wound.  One inch long. Took four stitches. A scar remains today. The four stitches obvious.

Covered the area with mercure com. Everything was covered with mercure com in those days. I do not think it is sold anymore.  He wrapped my hand in a clean white cloth. I was the hero on the block the rest of the day.

Dracula in the Operating Room was linked to my Key West Lou website this morning. keywestlou.com.

I have an afternoon visit with the doctor. A follow up visit to my fall last week.

Bocce tonight. Big game! We are in 3rd place. We play the #1 ranked team. They are exceptionally good. Superior. Are first every year. If we win one of the three games, we will consider it a victory.

Enjoy your day!