IRMA AND ME…..5 HOURS

Spent five straight hours working on Irma and Me yesterday afternoon. Noon to 5. Completed rough draft and sent it off to the publisher.

Still have to work on the Index, Introduction, Acknowledgements, a FINI segment, add pictures, and put together a cover.

Poor Liz. My dear friend. I visited her in the hospital early evening last night. She has been in 8 days. Her diabetes out of control. She has been a diabetic since birth.

Liz is my older friend. She is 83, one year older than me.

I admire her. She has an excellent mind. Liz was Dean of two law schools.

One of the things discussed was how the NBA would handle its basketball players from a legal perspective should they opt to kneel when the National Anthem is played. The NBA season begins soon.

We discussed death also. Quite a jump from basketball to death. Death is something persons my age and Liz’s think about on occasion. Not a morbid talk. I would characterize it as inquisitive.

An excellent Chart Room last night. Many tourists. Interesting because the streets were empty.

Met Lisa and Greg. Visiting from Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Two children. A son 23 and daughter 16. Lisa especially charming. She is a school proctor. Greg manager of a distributing company.

They visit Key West 3-4 times a year. Plan on some day buying here.

Then came the Cat! Her name. Actually a nick name. Short for Catherine.

Cat was at the other end of the bar. Told Shaun to buy me a drink. We had not talked yet. Not even a hello or nod of the head. I first refused, then said why not!

Cat is from Iowa. One of my favorite places. Told her of my dear friends Cindy and Tom. I do not recall what city Cat was from.

Cat a sharp woman. Had to be to buy me a drink! I joke. Smart because she is a CPA. My greatest asset for more than 40 years was my CPA Bill Hatfield. I made no economic moves without his advice. Which I always followed.

Cat’s husband is Kenny. A cattle baron of sorts. Sells cattle.

Cat returns for Fantasy Fest. Bringing a group of friends with her. We discussed beads, Sloppy Joe’s toga party, etc.

Cat a fun person. Hope I run into her at Fantasy Fest.

Now came Jill. It was my night!

Jill has been in Key west 30 years. We never met till last night. She is a bartender at Rum Barrel. Studied English at Western State and Colorado. Most Key West bartenders are college educated. Bartenders because they make more money at bartending than they would in another pursuit.

Jill benefited when Irma hit. She was vacationing in Portugal and could not return. Lucky her!

It was after 9 and I still had not eaten. Drove to Tavern ‘n Town for the 9-11 Happy Hour. Sat at the bar, read the newspapers while enjoying an order of fried calamari.

This Las Vegas incident horrific! Fifty plus dead, 200 plus wounded. Described as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Crazy people are always with us.

A truism. One which involves Trump. Never fails. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

Trump does not listen. He shoots from the hip. Does things his way. Fails to take into account repercussions. Fails to follow the advice of advisers.

He knows everything.

A wonder!

Trump decided to pick on Venezuela. Felt sorry for the people. He sanctioned Venezuela, banks were restricted from doing business with Venezuelan entities, etc.

He also threatened Maduro. Made comments that sounded like a military effort might follow.

I understand Venezuela. I have followed Maduro since he became President more than 4 years ago. A bad President. A corrupt one, also.

Venezuela ran out of toilet paper soon after he first took office. Venezuela still does not have enough toilet paper. Then Venezuela ran out of food, jobs, etc. Terrible conditions have existed for more than 4 years. Increasingly worse with each passing day.

I have maintained that Venezuela’s problems are their own. Within. A civil war is required to change things. The problem is the people of Venezuela do not have the balls to stand and revolt. They threaten, come close, but never make it.

Venezuela is not our problem. Venezuela presents no threat to the United States.

I suspect Trump might be interested in Venezuela because of its oil reserves. It has the largest oil deposits in the world. Invade under one pretense and take control of Venezuela’s oil might be the Trump motivation.

Sorry for the long introduction re the point I want to make.

Years ago, the U.S. got a rule into effect which most countries to this day follow. Any purchases of oil must be accomplished by the use of U.S. dollars. OPEC supported. Referred to as petrodollars. Keeps our dollar sound.

Maduro has said screw you to Trump. He announced last thursday that all businesses signing contracts with  Venezuela would do so in a foreign currency other than the U.S. dollar.

He intends for Venezuela to primarily use the Chinese yuan. China is thrilled. As is Russia who is in the middle of everything.

China wants its yuan to replace the dollar. Other countries are already in China’s fold.

China is and has been in an economic war with us. They are subtly beating the U.S. At every turn.

Trump does not see it. He would rather threaten military action rather than understand the ongoing economic war and its consequences.

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

A DEATH TRAP

Grenfell has been a death trap since 2015 when it was retrofitted. Death by fire inevitable. It happened this past week. The death count 17 so far. Expected to exceed 100. Some burned so badly, identification may not be possible.

Grenfell is a London high rise. The fire occurred wednesday. Rapidly spread upward. Comparable to a fire drawing up a chimney.

An outer sheet was placed over the exterior of the building at the time of renovations in 2015. A space remained between the outer sheet and the building wall. The interior of the sheet plastic.

The process is called cladding. Thought to be environmentally sound. The space between the new outer sheeting and original wall served as insulation.

A final report as to the cause of the fire not yet released. Two stick out and are sure to be included. The space described and the plastic coating. The space served as a draft for the flames to quickly shoot up enclosing the entire building. The plastic highly flammable.

An American company manufactured the covering. Reynobond. Two types. One with and one without the plastic coating. The without more expensive. Probably due to the nature of a different coating.

The difference in using the safe one over the one possible of fire 5,000 pounds.

Cladding is banned outright in Germany. In the United States, it is banned in buildings more than 40 feet high.

Warnings have been forthcoming since 1999 that cladding was not safe. Primarily because of the chimney effect if a fire occurs.

Grenfell a disaster that should not have occurred. An avoidable one. Money and an environmentally sound but dangerous material major contributing factors.

My big event yesterday was shopping at Farmers Market. Bread, tomatoes and honey purchased.

Stopped at 5 Guys. Sitting at the table next to me was the owner of Harpoon Harry’s. Both of us munching away on huge cheeseburgers.

Gotcha time. We laughed when we saw each other. Caught cheating!

Trump is wrong to change the relatively new rules re Cuba. He is acceding to a handful of Cuban immigrants who each year diminish in numbers.

Castro’s revolution was 1959. Cubans who fled left at that time. Many settled in Miami.

Sixty five more or less years ago. Time generally heals wounds no matter how great initially. We should have hated Germany and Japan following World War II. Thousands of our men and women killed. We had better sense. We made them our friends. Look at the relationships that developed.

Trump is sucking up to a handful of American-Cuban voters. Typical. He does not use his head.

I came across an article re Coney Island and its roller coaster Cyclone. Both may be closed today.

Brought back memories of me and my Uncle Gus. My mother’s oldest brother. A barber in the Bronx.

Uncle Gus took me to Coney Island every year when we visited. A ride on the Cyclone always on the agenda. I was 4-10 during those years. Scared of the roller coaster.

Uncle Gus always insisted we had to sit in the front seat. I thought I was going to die each time. Fall out. In the vernacular, I shit my pants!

Uncle Gus loved it! He would yell and scream. I eventually realized I was his excuse to ride on the Cyclone.

In 1858, Lincoln was running for the United States Senate. He lost.

On this day in 1858 at a debate, Lincoln warned that America was becoming a “house divided.” He said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Heed well my friends! A warning. Words of wisdom that apply as much today as then.

Enjoy your day!

KATHY CAWLEY

Another star shines bright in the sky. Kathy Cawley. She left us yesterday at age 77.

Kathy was in Greenwich at the time. Her husband Tom with her.

Kathy and Tom have been spending eight months in Key West and four in Greenwich for years. A team. Loyal attendees at every Key West cultural and social event.

Kathy’s personality a bubbly one. The  tiny woman always with a smile on her face.

She and Tom traveled the island on their motor scooter. One scooter, two bodies. Kathy seated behind Tom holding tightly on to him.

Kathy will be missed.

The front page of the Key West Citizen has a large picture of a turtle nesting place on a beach. The Pier House beach. Stakes and ropes squared around the area to keep humans from stepping on the shelled babies hidden under the sand.

The Citizen reported the Reach also has a turtle nest on its property.

It is unusual for nests to show up on the two hotel beaches. The beach area of both small.

Pati Flowers. Lovely lady. A special person. A bartender at Hot Tin Roof.

She is Citizen of the Day.The designation and her photo appear in this morning’s Key West Citizen.

Last night was Sq. 1 for a drink and dinner at the outside bar at La Te Da. The evening uneventful.

I can’t stop writing  about Venezuela. A disgrace. A sorrow. Vivid starvation.

The government cannot be believed. It announced yesterday it was confiscating guns and ammunition. Destroying them by crushing and chopping. The excuse the rising murder rate in the country.

Bullshit!

The government fears the coming revolution. There will be one. People have no food to eat. Zip. Nothing. They are out rioting, stealing, etc. Watching your children starve to death is reason enough to conduct themselves as they are. They are looking for food!

The guns old and rusty. The pistols home made.

The government fears the people. I would not be surprised if Maduro ended up hung from a pole at a gas station. Shades of Mussolini.

Things are at an extreme stage in Venezuela.

Socially correct. Politically correct. Sometimes, I wonder.

The State of North Carolina has forbidden its teachers to refer to their students as boys and girls. Transgenderism the reason. A desire not to offend anyone. Henceforth, students or scholars are to be used in place of boys and girls.

Parents are upset. I would be. They refer to the action by the State as “cultural Marxism.” A happening arising out of a radical sexual revolution being forced on their children.

Enjoy your day!

 

GOODBYE ERIKA…..HELLO FRED

Erika fizzled out over Cuba. No hurricane problem now for Key West. Some heavy rain and 40 mph wind gusts for two days.

We can use the rain.

One potential hurricane leaves and another enters. Fred the name of this one. Now off the coast of Africa. Where most hurricanes have their start. It will be at least 10 days before we know if Fred is going to be a problem.

The media tends to hype things. Especially the Weather Channel this morning. Makes the rain sound like a big problem.

The Weather Channel just showed a live video of Miami and the rain they were having. Heavy. Windy. Impressive. Bone dry here in Key West. We are 150 miles south of Miami.

Tavern ‘n Town’s Judy told me last night she left Key West for the first few hurricanes when she first was here. Even her furniture went with her. Nothing happened. Finally got disgusted and decided to stay for Wilma. Judy, her furniture and car, took a beating.

Spent most of yesterday researching this week’s KONK Life column. I will be writing it today. An interesting topic. Private prisons. Involved is bribery corruption involving a judge who was sentenced to 28 years, a slavery exception to the 13th amendment, chain gangs, and Wall Street banks. Publishes Wednesday.

Tavern ‘n Town last night. Bobby Nesbitt entertaining.. Bobby recently returned from a cruise gig. He leaves for Germany soon for his annual one month entertainment spree there. Including Oktoberfest.

Met Liz from Boston. Was in Miami for a business meeting. Shot down to Key West for a couple of days of fun and relaxation. Her third time here. Always stays at the Marriott Beachside. Charming. Enjoyed my time with her at the bar.

Tavern ‘n Town has two hostesses. Both beautiful. Ludmila and Moldova. Ludmilla new to the team. Every guest is greeted with a smile. All assistance provided.

The highlight of the evening involved Food & Beverage Director Dave Talpasz. Soft spoken. Unassuming. He runs an excellent shop.

Dave has been recognized for his fine work. He is the Restauranteur of the Year for all American Marriotts. Includes North and South America. I am thrilled for him. The recognition well deserved based on how he manages his responsibilities at the Marrott Beachside..

There was a large picture sitting on an easel at the entrance to Tavern ‘n Town. In it are Dave and my friend Robert Spottswood. The Marriott and the Spottswood Companies jointly operate the Marriott Beachside. The picture announces Dave’s recognition by the Marriott chain.

American Pharoah suffered his first defeat yesterday in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. American Pharoah was the Triple Crown winner this year.

American Pharoah got cheated. His owner should have put him out to stud after the Triple Crown victories. Instead, he got greedy. Ran him in additional races. I assume to make more money.

This morning’s news has the owner now thinking that perhaps he had gone too far. Whatever, get American Pharoah in fields of green where he can spend the rest of his days in the company of female counterparts.

Owen Labrie is the young man convicted of sex charges with a 15 year old girl. Owen a senior at a private school. He was to enter Harvard next month.

I will not bore you with the details of the sex activities. You all know. The media covered this story 110 percent. I do have an observation, however. Things have changed. When I was a high school senior back in the early 1950s, actual sex was an unattainable dream. The best a young man could hope for was to touch a girl’s breast. Outside her clothes!

Maduro is the inept President of Venezuela. First his people ran out of toilet paper. Then food. Both continue in short supply.

Immigrants are pouring over the border from Columbia to Venezuela to escape the drug wars. Maduro is pulling at his hair trying to figure out how to feed them and provide them with toilet paper.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SICK!

What word best describes what occurred yesterday to the Jordanian pilot? Sick? Perverse? Horrific? Gruesome? Disgusting? Probably all.

I watched the video last night. It appears I have lived a sheltered life. Never have I seen such horror! Burning a man alive! His screams could be heard. At one point, the skin falling from his face could be seen.

ISIS are not only a bad people, they are crazy! They are vermin that must be sought out and destroyed. No matter how difficult the task.

I admire Jordan’s swift retaliation. Two ISIS prisoners hung at dawn. The way to do it. No time wasted. Let the bad guys know there is a price to pay.

I was impressed with the speed of the Jordanian retaliation. If it were the United States, we would still be talking how, when, etc.

Exercise was on tap yesterday. I walked Duval from one end to the other. Started at the Pier House and walked to the Atlantic. Then back.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. The topics eye opening and exciting.

Based on post show comments, the one garnering the most interest was Venezuela’s Maduro claiming that Joe Biden was planning a bloody coup against Maduro’s government. Maduro was so upset that he was going to tell Obama about it, who he felt had not been made aware of Biden’s plans.

The guy is a nut case!

I missed the first 12 minutes of the Syracuse/Virginia Tech game because of the show. What I saw was interesting. About three quarters through the second half, Syracuse was losing. Syracuse was behind 13 points with 6 minutes to go. Syracuse won 72-70.

Syracuse’s defense was outstanding in the final four minutes. Six times Syracuse trapped the ball. Those defensive plays were exciting!

Then followed with the winning shot with one second to go!

The last four minutes classic basketball!

A statement on the internet caught my attention yesterday. I do not recall specifically where I found it. Perhaps, Facebook.

The statement…..Only in America do we accept predictions from a rodent but deny climate change evidence from scientists.

The rodent referred to was a groundhog. Groundhog Day was this past week.

Jimmy Buffett is returning to Key West for a one night show. He is doing a free concert for 200 at the San Carlos on April 1. The whole world will want to attend. Tickets will be made available free via a lottery.

My column in this week’s KONK Life is Greece In The Driver’s Seat. It publishes today. Read it, if you have a chance. The column will be available via my Facebook page keywestlou.com starting tomorrow.

Enjoy your day!