CONCH REPUBLIC DAYS

It was April 1982. Drugs and illegal immigrants were coming in through Key West and the lower Keys. The U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock and checkpoint at the northern end of US 1.

Traffic backed up big time. Many locals and tourists were inconvenienced and angry.

A federal court action was brought to have the roadblock/checkpoint removed. It failed.

Key Westers were undaunted. Their mentality prevailed. A group of local citizens decided to protest. In humorous fashion, of course. They went to the roadblock/checkpoint and opened one on their own. Under the auspices of the newly formed Conch Republic. The day, April 23.

History was made!

The men assembled advised the U.S. Border Patrol that Key West had seceded and was an independent nation. They further advised that then and there they were declaring war on the United States.

The group waited one minute and then advised they were surrendering. In addition, they demanded $1 billion in foreign aid.

The aid never came. However much has developed since that 1982 day.

The Conch Republic has won a form of recognition from the U.S. It has a capital headquarters in a yellow conch house on Simonton Street. The Conch Republic flag flies in front.

The Conch Republic has an Army, Navy and Air Force. Officers uniformed. An ocean going fleet consisting of the Schooner Wolf and ten civilian boats. An Air Force consisting of several pre-World War II bi-planes.

A female contingent exists. Young lovely ladies. Their uniform, bikinis.

Even a national anthem. Working In The Conch Republic.

The 35th anniversary of the birth of the Conch Republic is being celebrated with a week long event. Begins tonight at the Schooner Wharf Bar at 7. The event is the Conch Shell Blowing Contest.

A major event is the Great Sea Battle which will take place in a few days. The Conch Republic and United States engage in war!

Off Schooner Wharf, the Conch Republic Navy consisting of the schooner Wolf (a pirate ship in reality) and several small motorized vehicles will engage the big ships of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Conch’s will fire sea water via large hoses at the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will retaliate with fire hoses.

The Conch’s will throw cabbages, eggs and tomatoes at the Coast Guard. The bikini clad ladies will be holding on from the yardarm doing most of the throwing. They will be attired as pirate ladies. The men as pirates, also.

The air battle is terrific. U.S. Navy jets from Boca Chica will engage Conch Republic bi-planes. The bi-planes will also bomb the Coast Guard cutters. With rolls of toilet paper which open up and flutter down on the Coast Guard vessels. Something to see.

Don’t miss the Great Sea Battle! It’s a winner!

Buffalo’s Tom and Fran Dixon are in town. I hope to go out to dinner with them tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

RUSSIANS AT THE DINNER TABLE

Gail Collins in a recent New York Times column commented…..Russia worked hard to get Donald Trump elected President. What did they get out of it? Multiple high level investigations…..these days in Washington you’d be much better off being a Mexican.

As to the Syria bombing, I believe these Middle East battles are not our headache. Especially a civil war. Our military should not die in such a fight. We are not the world’s protector.

However if fight we must, then let’s do it right. Hit ’em hard and hit them once. So hard they will not question whether we will return for a second visit.

We should have wiped out all six of Syria’s air bases in one night. Assad’s air force is his strongest military arm.

Six wiped out air bases proof to Assad and the world that the U.S. does not screw around.

Roostica for an early dinner last night. Limoncello wings.

Then to Tammy’s for a manicure. What a business! I am proud of Tammy and her husband Ricky. They work hard and deserve every success they are enjoying.

Then to bocce. Another no joy in Mudville evening. Team lost 2 of 3 games. Details bitter. Won’t even share them.

Something is wrong. The team is not playing as it has the past several seasons.

Weather changed. I woke in the night to a roar. A constant roar. It was the wind. Still blowing. From the north. 20-30 mph. Brought temperature down. From high 70’s at night to 65 last night. High today 75. Down from 87. Sixty five tonight again.

Amazing how Key West weather changes on the flip of a coin.

Our local Florida Keys Community College is to be complimented. There will be an April 12 ribbon cutting. Opening an era of offering an Associate Degree in Culinary Management. Needed in a  tourist destination community like Key West.

Enjoy your day!

 

BLIMP HANGAR

As you read along the Key West Rotary history portion, keep in mind that which is written occurred some 100 years ago. Some things change. Some no more. Like a picnic involving wheelbarrow racing and tugs of war.

Installment 4.

The year 1924.

Key West High School had a newspaper. The Monroe Tatler. An article in one of the publications wrote about a senior class luncheon picnic with the Rotary. At the picnic, the Rotarians took turns escorting a senior girl to a table and each senior boy by a Rotary Ann.

The blimp hangar was part of the Navy facility at what was then called Trumbo Island. The same Trumbo Base area today in Key West. The naval base was small. Established in 1918.

There was no Boca Chica in 1924 as we know it today. Boca Chica did not become a major military installation till World War II.

Nineteen twenty four was a time when organizations could legally limit membership to men. Such was changed by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987. Ladies had to be admitted to membership.

Rotary wives participated in Club activities from Rotary’s 1905 beginnings. Such wives became known as Rotary Anns. The name evolved. Some Rotary Clubs referred to the ladies as Rotary Spouses or Rotary Partners.

The Rotary Ann label was born in 1914. The national Rotary Convention was held in Houston. The San Francisco Rotary hired a special train to make the trip to Houston. Few wives made the trip. One that did was Ann Brunnier who got on the train with her Rotary husband Bru Brunnier in Los Angeles.

During the trip, Ann acquired the name Rotary Ann. One of the Rotarians wrote a song about Rotary Ann. The Rotarians sang the song all the way to Houston.

Philadelphia Rotarian Guy Gundakr’s wife was named Ann. The conventioneers referred to her as Rotary Ann, also.

The conventioneers an exuberant group. At one point, they hoisted the two Rotary Anns on their shoulders and paraded about singing the Rotary Ann tune.

Both Brunnier and Gundakr became International Rotary Presidents in subsequent years.

The Rotary Ann name and concept took hold. Soon Rotary wives everywhere formed Rotary Ann clubs to assist with Rotary activities.

Back to the luncheon picnic.

Alan Clesse was senior class President. He made a thank you speech  to the Rotary.

The Key West Rotary President at the time was Bugs Werner. A playful type. He passed a clock to one of the senior girls. He explained that each time the alarm went off, the girl holding the clock had to make a speech. The clock moved fast from one girl to another.

The alarm rang while held by two different girls. A Miss Perez and a Miss Lowe. Each made a speech. Some Rotarians thought Perez’s was the best speech they had ever heard.

The picnic was a time of frolic. Singing, talking, wheelbarrow races, and tugs of war.

A Louis day yesterday. A manicure with Tammy. The nail emporium a gold mine. Tammy and her husband Ricky have worked hard and have a constantly growing business. I admire their success.

Tammy is good company. We laugh through the procedure.

Last night was dinner at Liz’s Kitchen. So labeled by Liz herself because I love her kitchen so much.

Liz a cook extraordinaire!

We enjoyed cocktails in the garden with tasty pickies. Then inside the kitchen for French Lasagna. A first time dish for me. Outstanding!

Liz had the entire evening planned. Following dinner, we went into her study to watch the World Series and have coffee and desert. Desert home made pumpkin pie.

The woman’s a gem!

Chicago won the game and the series. I did not think Chicago could come back. A feat in itself. Big time winners.

I am confused. The polling numbers have become simultaneously inconsistent. Things tightening up. Trump could win. A disaster!

Bocce tonight.

Enjoy your day!

MICHAEL HOEFLICH

Received an e-mail from Mike Hoeflich yesterday. A voice from the past. We had not communicated in more than 25 years. Mike found me via this blog.

In the late 1980s, I was Chairman of the Syracuse University College of Law Board of Visitors. The Dean at the time resigned. A five person search committee was formed to select a new Dean. I was a member of the search committee.

We spent a year looking, interviewing, reading, etc. in our quest for a new Dean. I sometimes felt as if I was picking the next President of the United States. A trip! We wanted the best of the best. We got it in Mike Hoeflich.

As Board Chairman, I worked closely with the Dean. We were working for the good of the Law School. Mike turned out to be one of the finest people I have met. Intelligent, hard working, articulate, a leader, genuine, etc. It was an honor and pleasure to have worked with him.

Mike left Syracuse after six years as Dean. He moved on to Kansas University where he served as Dean for six years. Since 2000, Mike has taught law at Kansas. A big time professor. Chaired.

I recall Mike’s position clearly re law professors having to write and be published. He pushed the law faculty in this regard. He was a do as I do guy. Mike has published 15 books and 115 articles.

A good man in every respect!

I worked several hours yesterday fine tuning last night’s blog talk radio show. I decided to do a black America show. Stressed three areas.

The first was Charleston and the forgiveness thing. I believe forgiveness accomplishes nothing in solving our racial problems. I am not Jesus and could not turn the other cheek. Said why and what I thought should be done.

The next item involved the Confederate flag. Easy. Take it down! I fear the South Carolina legislature is going to delay. The legislature voted yesterday to debate the issue. Resolution could take forever, if at all.

The final item involved Josephine Baker. Traced her life. The discrimination heaped upon her. Her fight back.

Ran over to Roostica for dinner. Sat at the bar. Looked like a bum. Had not shaved in four days. I was hopeful of not running into anyone. Impossible.

Michelle joined me at the bar. Michelle and husband own Roostica. As well as Hogfish and Geiger Key. Enjoyed an interesting conversation. A I was leaving, Bobby arrived to join his wife.

Ran into Alex and Mary the other day at Publix. Alex, my horn blowing friend. A retired New York fireman, he is into his other life in Key West. He blows his horn at affairs. Many times accompanying Larry Smith. He has made several CDs and videos. He lives in Key West time.

Alex had read last week’s KONK Life column The Petticoat Affair. He was taken by it.

This week’s column publishes today. America, Land of the Free. The title selected with tongue in cheek. We are not the land of the free untill all people are equally treated.

Big day ahead! Anti-gravity treadmill at 11. Manicure at 12 with Tammy. Dinner tonight at Salute’s on the beach with friends. A typical Key West day!

Body Owners has brought me together with a new and different group of friends. All into physiotherapy. The sick, sore, lame and disabled. All ages. I am anxious to make my three times a week workouts. I want to see how my new found friends are doing, share tidbits with them.

Enjoy your day!