A CATASTROPHIC KEY WEST HAPPENING

A catastrophic event has occurred. Smoking no longer permitted in Berlin’s.

New owners. The no smoking rule invoked. Surprising because one of the primary new owners a smoker himself.

Please, do not bury me in e-mails about the evils of smoking. Some remain who enjoy it. A personal choice. I do not criticize those who opt not to smoke.

If second hand smoke is a problem, do not attend a place that permits smoking. Only a few are left in Key West. Many non-smoking restaurants and bars available for the multitude.

Lets me share the Berlin story with you.

Berlin’s full name is Berlin’s Cigar and Cocktail Bar. It has been a place frequented by smokers since 1947 when it was first opened as Alonzo Cothron and Berlin Felton’s Fish House.

Eventually, the name was changed to Alonzo’s and Berlin’s Lobster House. The dining institution of the day. The place for a night out followed by a Cuban cigar. The affluent then hopping a plane for a quick flight to Havana for a night of gambling. Returning in time to bed down while still dark outside.

Those must have been the days!

At some point, the establishment was rebuilt. Always a perfect waterfront site. Class before and class after the rebuilding.

Berlin’s had a cool look to it. The feeling of Rick’s cafe. Some consider the swankiest spot in Key West.

Paul Tripp was owner at the time of rebuilding. He said, “I wanted it to be a men’s club, to have a masculine feel to it.”

It did.

An intimate room. Mahogany walls. Maroon leather bound stools and large comfortable easy chairs. Cigars stored in a humidor. The perfect place to sit back and enjoy a smoke.

The present day Berlin’s has the finest filtration system I have ever experienced. Even if the person next to you was smoking a cigar, you never smelled it. The filtration system sucked up the smoke  immediately. After leaving, your clothes did not smell of smoke.

Smokers generally ate in the intimacy of Berlin’s. A&B Lobster House, the restaurant portion is extremely large with a huge outdoor balcony to accommodate everyone else.

The food at the bar and restaurant the same. Always excellent. Pricey. Worth it, however. Especially when I could enjoy a couple of drinks and cigarettes before dinner and another after dinner while enjoying the last drink of the night.

The change makes no sense. It will not increase business. It might lessen it, if anything.

The Chart Room my only stop last night. John bartending. Ran into Diesel last year. Again, last night. We spoke at length. I enjoyed his company.

Diesel is from Ohio. Retired. He and his wife Lynise bought a home in Key West several years ago. Lynise was not with him. An early to bed person as I am most evenings.

They spend 6 months a year on the island. I told Diesel he was a snowbird. He did not like the title. Preferred to be known as a transient Conch. Don’t think it would fly with the Conchs.

Cori Convertino, how I envy you! Cori was on Ballast Key yesterday!

Cori is technically Dr. Cori Convertino. She is curator at the Custom House. Over the years, she became a close friend of David Wolkowsky. David you will recall died 2 month ago.

David enjoyed 3 homes in the Key West area. One was on Ballast Key. A small island 16 miles west of Key West. A magnificent edifice planned and built by David.

Not sure why Cori was there yesterday. Wish she had invited me. I assume she was there for some reason having to do with the furnishings. David was a huge benefactor to the Custom House.

I met Fritz Adare 12 years ago at a party at Larry and Christine Smith’s home. Nice guy. He was introduced as a personal trainer. Looked it. A magnificent body. Skin like a baby’s back end. A body that sparkled.

It was obvious Fritz was a good health addict.

I rarely saw him. We would run into each other one or two times a year. Always a cordial hello and a few words.

Yesterday’s Facebook listed the day as Fritz’s birthday. I sent him a Happy Birthday!

Last night, Larry and Christine telephoned me. I knew there had to be trouble if both were on the phone together. Fritz had died several months ago. I did not know.

Strange. I never saw his obituary. Looked for it this morning. Not in the Key West Citizen. Found it in a South Bend, Indiana newspaper. Fritz died on May 29. He was residing in an assisted living facility at the time. Age, 71.

May he rest in peace.

When older people who I know pass on, I get a bit nervous. I am 83. Fritz was 71. He unquestionably was a health nut. Always working out. Took all kinds of vitamins and supplement pills. Nutrition was a big thing with him.

I do not dwell on death. Mark Twain said, “Age is not an issue of mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

What will be, will be.

An important thing in life. After saturday’s victory, Syracuse is now ranked 14th in the nation. A 7-2 record so far. Go ‘Cuse!

Enjoy your day!

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERNEST HEMINGWAY

July 21, 1899. Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois. A great day for literature, a great day for Key West.

Hemingway is part and parcel of the fabric of Key West. Visible in many ways 365 days a year. At the moment, Hemingway Days. Today, the famous Running With The Bulls. Get down to Sloppy Joe’s around one. Watch the Hemingway Look a Likes assemble and then run with the bulls.

Dinner last night at Donna and Terri’s. Good drink, fantastic meal and their special company as always.

I learned last night I too have to adjust to Terri’s blindness. There are occasions where two persons can communicate merely by looking at each other. Realized I cannot do it any longer with Terri. She can’t see me. I must speak to engage her.

How awful it must be for Terri.

Terri is not permitting the problem to keep her down. She sings tonight at Blue Heaven. From 6:30-9:30. Jean Thornton and I are having dinner tonight at Blue Heaven. Specifically to enjoy Terri.

The present Key West Cemetery has been in existence since 1847. Many of the graves are unmarked. The Cemetery is attempting to identify the occupant of each grave. A tedious almost impossible function.

When identification is complete, the Cemetery will establish a search engine on the City’s website.

Give a helping hand to the Cemetery. If you know someone who is buried in an unmarked grave, contact the Cemetery and let them know.

The Key West Citizen’s weather person continues to amuse me. Today, partly sunny and mild. Described as “…..nice day to hit the beach.” Tomorrow’s verbiage the winner. Partly cloudy and humid. Described as “…..think Saturday with a little sweat.”

Two quotes have caught my attention.

A Mark Twain one in the Comment section to this blog: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

The other, I cannot recall where I came upon it. Wrote it down to share with you, however: “The House and Senate are ostriches burying their heads in the sand.”

Both quotes related to Trump in some fashion.

I did my Key West Lou Live show on Facebook earlier this morning. Titled: God Is A Republican?” Religion and politics. The harm religion can cause when involved with government. The Evangelical influence today.

Take a look. You might enjoy. You also might not agree with me.

Rome burned this month in 64 AD. Much of Rome destroyed. Nero rebuilt it.

Some claim Nero started the fire because he wanted a new and more modern Rome. Most historians disagree. Though Nero did want a new modern Rome.

A false story also exists that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. He did not. The fiddle had not yet been invented in 64 AD. Nero was 35 miles away at the time of the fire.

Nero did use the fire to his advantage, however. He disliked Christians. Considered them a danger. He used the fire as an excuse to arrest, torture and execute hundreds of Christians. Most were fed to the lions or burned to death.

Nero used as an excuse that the Christians had caused the fire.

BOB still tired. Working, however. Fantasy Fest next.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

GEORGE WASHINGTON 2ND RICHEST PRESIDENT

Trump the richest President. No question about it. Who second?

George Washington.

Washington was worth $525 million. He owned land, businesses, a distillery, and slaves. His Presidential salary nothing to be ashamed of. Negotiated I assume by him. His salary annually was 2 percent of the U.S. budget.

Fine tuned my podcast show in the afternoon. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Most of the show was to be Trump and Judge Neil Gorsuch. My show was ready to go at 3. Had to wait. Show time not till 9.

Then everything hit the fan in Washington. More Trump problems. Involving some of his campaign team members. The Judge’s questioning before the Judiciary Committee put on hold.

All hell was breaking loose.

I reworked my show plan to accommodate the news.

Re Trump, he is a man sitting on a sunny beach not aware that a tsunami is approaching. The coming disaster inevitable. He in the middle of it.

Money laundering originating in Russia creeping into the news. Watch for it. The money laundering reached British and American banks.

Judge Neil Gorsuch a winner! I was impressed! A legal mind!

Though he is a conservative, he will vote liberal if the case calls for it. My impression.

Newly appointed Supreme Court Justices sometime change sides. The conservative votes liberal.

Eisenhower’s opponent for the Republican nomination in 1952 was California’s Governor Warren. A black hearted Republican. Nothing in his history to indicate anything else.

Warren was appointed Chief Justice. He immediately turned. Warren was one of the most liberal Justices in our nation’s history. Eisenhower lamented the one mistake of his Presidency was nominating Warren to the bench.

Then came Justice Souter. A small town Republican lawyer who was fortunate to become a New Hampshire Judge. A conservative one. Appointed to the Supreme Court, a metamorphism occurred. He became a dependable liberal vote.

I have been into pythons for five years. The Everglades replete with them. They are now moving into the Keys. One or two made it to Key West.

The State failed to timely pay attention to their growing numbers. Pythons frequently engage in sex. They have overrun the Everglades. The actual number unknown. Cannot be determined.

Experts claim eradication impossible. Too many. The aim to date has been to mange the python problem. Impossible. They reproduce faster than they can be killed.

Now comes Florida State Senator Artiles. He wants the State to pay private contractors to go into the Everglades and kill pythons.

A guaranteed exercise in futility.

Robots. One of my favorite topics for a year. They are here and more coming in increasing numbers. Human jobs will be lost.

Arabs are smart. The Dubai Police Force announced that they will begin using robots for certain police work beginning in May. They expect that by 2030, 25 percent of the force will be robots.

Mark Twain and his friend Thomas B. Reed spent this day in 1902 in Key West. Reed was Speaker of the House of Representatives at the time. They were on their way to Cuba. Party time.

Jimmy Walker was a famous New York City mayor in the roaring 1920’s and into the early 1930 Depression years. He became too friendly with the mob. Under investigation, he ran off to Europe with his wife.

Betty Compton his wife. Somehow she got to Key West in later years. On this day in 1941, Betty Compton divorced Jimmy Walker in a Florida Circuit Court sitting in Key West.

Harry Truman. One of Key West’s favorite persons. Truman loved Key West. Key West loves Truman.

On this day in 1951, Truman completed a three week vacation at the Little White House and returned to Washington.

Enjoy your day!

STONE CRABS & HOWARD LIVINGSTON

We are into the stone crab season. One of man’s finest foods. I have many times said that if I were to be executed, my last meal would be stone crabs.

I met Howard Livingston about 15 years ago. A different man at the time. Though possessed of the same basic charm as today. Howard was a Chicago executive. Wore three piece suits. Short cropped hair.

Howard had built a new home on the water on Summerland Key. We used to go out together frequently, visit each other’s homes. Howard gave a call one morning and said to come up. We were going out on his boat.

We enjoyed a delightful day on the water. If my memory proves correct, we went out to Marvin Key. We returned late afternoon. While the ladies were preparing dinner, Howard told me to join him.

We went out in a small flat boat. At a particular point, Howard stopped and threw the anchor in. Then he directed me to the front of the boat where he was standing. Howard had some stone crab traps sitting down under the water. Each had an attached buoy floating on top.

We were going to collect some stone crabs! A first time for me. Lest anyone think we were poaching, these were Howard’s traps.

We developed a system. I would lift the trap out of the water. The traps were wood strips attached in box form. Spaces in between the strips. Howard would take the stone crabs out. One at a time. Size was important. If too small, the stone crab was returned to the water.

I learned a lot that day. Only one claw can be removed. Then the crab is thrown back in the water. The claw regenerates. Amazing!

Howard did the claw removal. Ever so carefully. He held the stone crab in one hand and carefully snipped away where the claw attached to the body. He admonished me to be careful if I ever graduated to removing the claw. The claw where attached is close to the crab’s lungs. A miss cut and the crab would die.

The crab was returned to the ocean. The trap followed. However, Howard first put something in the trap. A large frozen pig’s foot. Apparently pigs feet are gourmet dining to stone crabs. The pig’s feet would attract the stone crabs and induce them to enter the trap from which there was no escape.

The day was not yet finished. We returned and had a healthy dinner. Stone crabs not included. They had to be boiled and then cooled. To be eaten another time.

It was midnight and I was still there. For what turned out to be the best part of the evening. Howard and I were seated out on the dock. My feet in the water. Howard sitting with his back to a post. Howard was playing his guitar and singing. Jimmy Buffett songs and songs he himself had written.

We were both smoking cigars. Howard had brought a bottle of Gran Marnier out on the dock. We each dipped our cigar in the Gran Marnier before smoking. We followed it with each of us periodically taking a swig out of the bottle.

A day in Key West time as Howard would later set to music.

Enjoy your Sunday!