THE COUGH THAT ISN’T GOING AWAY

I got a cold and cough big time 5 weeks ago. It seemed like everyone I know got it too.

Here it is 5 weeks later and I still have a cough. A very slight one.

I generally get the flu shot around October 1. Did not because of the cold, etc. You are not supposed to get the flu shot if you are sick in any way.

I went to see Dr. Norris yesterday. My real concern was whether I could get the flu shot yet. He said no. Must first get rid of the cough. Now he was concerned why the cough was still around 5 weeks later. He gave me a prescription for some drug and sent me off for a chest x-ray. Also gave me a sermon about smoking.

Last night, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua. Jean met up with me. We enjoyed Tom and Rick. Chatted briefly with Liz and Linda.

We wanted stone crabs. Yesterday, opening day of the season. Came up empty. No one had them yet. We will do it another time.

Went to La Trattoria for dinner. Guy de Boer joined us as we were finishing. A good meal and good company. Following which I headed home and Jean to Vino’s.

Friday Goombay! Jean and I are going to walk the street together. Then Fantasy Fest for a week. The wild time!

I am excited. Buffalo’s Fran and Tom Dixon arrived late last night. I will ba having dinner with them some night this week. Tom e-mailed Fran had brought a supply of sauce. Love the woman!

A hurricane comes and goes. Its effects remain a long time. Irma a perfect example. Irma hit the lower Keys more than a year ago. People without homes even today. A Rebuild Florida Bus will be parked at City Hall in Key West today and tomorrow. To assist those still without adequate housing.

Michael’s death toll at the moment 17. The number will grow significantly. Sixty thousand people missing. Search crews are out. Going through the rubble of each house.

Trump and Melanie were in the Panhandle and Georgia yesterday. The President never learns. Was it in Puerto Rico following Maria that he threw rolls of paper towels? Yesterday, it was bottles of water. Tossed and handed.

I’m beginning to think Trump is a frustrated ball player.

I saw on TV yesterday men running around wearing blue tee shirts with FEMA printed in bold white letters on the back. It seemed like they were intent in getting in the video being taken.

The video was being shot in Lynn Haven, a town in the Panhandle hit badly. There were food and water tents. The food and water were not delivered by nor being given out by FEMA. Their food and water still on its way. It was from volunteers who drove it in and were handing the food and water out themselves.

Good people, one and all. Key West an example of such good people. A large truck left City Hall yesterday loaded with things people will need in the Panhandle. Four or five volunteers went along. One said it was pay back time. A time to say thank you for the assistance the lower Keys received from the people of the Panhandle during Irma.

FEMA and other federal help appears to be directed to the search efforts for the 60,000 unaccounted for. FEMA and Governor Scott said a couple of days ago that is the way it had to be. Find those first who are trapped or dead. Then the flow of food, water, etc.

Does not make sense to me. FEMA a huge organization. Should be ready to assist in every respect when a disaster such as Michael occurs. They have had enough experience. They also knew before Michael made landfall the magnitude of the storm. The military can be called in to help if need be.

Several months from now, the Washington cry will be not enough money, can’t complete the recovery job, perhaps even can’t help anymore. The federal government still owes billions of dollars to Florida and Monroe County for monies the feds were going to pay re Irma problems. The State and County have had to play with their budgets, cut some services, raise taxes, etc. this year because the monies not yet paid.

Tonight my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. Join me. I have much to discuss. Many things bothering me that should be bothering you also.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

I CALLED IT

I complained yesterday Trump and FEMA were failing as regards Michael. They failed to show up for duty!

Trump needs to make a few visits to the devastated areas. More important than flying around the country doing 3 political rallies a week.

Someone commented today better the President stayed away at this time. Might disrupt recovery efforts. What recovery efforts as  you will see as this blog unwinds. The affected people need to know their leader is behind them and cares. He does not even have to bring paper towels.

The real failure at the moment if FEMA. Still in Washington. Doing TV shows trying to bullshit the country as to the great job being done.

I stated people needed the basics. Water and food first. Then ice, power, sewage, and shelter. Most of the tiny barrier towns are reporting it will be at least 2 months before they have water, sewage, and power.

What do they do in the meantime? The government, federal and state, must step in and help. One of the reasons government exists is to help in times of disaster.

No one appeared to be complaining yesterday re  Trump and FEMA’s failures. I decided too. Not because I am a genius. My age comes into play. Eighty three. I have seen a lot over the years. Puerto Rico and other disasters. Government failure in New Orleans. Government failure in general in time of need.

I was disturbed the media was not talking about no water, no food, etc.

So I expressed myself yesterday. Today, FEMA’s failure big time in the news. Trump’s failure not mentioned yet.

The cry from Michael’s survivors is, “We’re not getting any help.” There is no food, no water, no FEMA. Survivors are furious. They have been left to fend for themselves, with little help from the government.

The Panhandle’s Chantelle Goolspy an example. She was able to get through to FEMA in Washington by phone. We need help! She was told to call the Red Cross. The Red Cross told her to call 211. 211 is a Florida emergency help number.

She said, “We need food, water, anything, we’re not getting any help.”

She was told to hang on. Do the best she could. It would be a few days before food, water, etc. would be forthcoming.

The people feel they have been forgotten by the outside world.

There is the Lipford family. They own, live on, and work a 160 acre farm that has been in the family since the Civil War. Michael left them cut off from civilization. The older Mrs. Lipford says the family feels like it has been shoved back to frontier days. She washes clothes in a bucket. She bathes in a creek where her husband made a small wall of stones to hold water.

Their daughter is 23. She is wielding a chain saw to cut away fallen trees, except that every two hours she must return to the house to breast feed her 6 week old son.

Mr. Lipford said, “I want power and water. The rest we can deal with.” Shades of a strong self help person from another day.

Panama City Beach has resorted to self-help. Not waiting for federal emergency assistance. Volunteers from other Florida areas unaffected by Michael have brought food and water to Panama City. A food kitchen has been set up. Fifteen hundred meals were prepared for locals.

A church has set up 15 stations within Panama City where it is prepared to deliver meals every day. Ready to go. Need the food to cook, however.

One comment from the area: “The American people are helping us, FEMA will come into the game and get the accolades in six months.”

A federal, state and local Emergency Operation Center has been established at Gulf State College. Telling people they have to ration the food and water they have. The group’s primary concern remains looking for survivors. Sixty thousand residents remained.

Governor Scott impressed me with Irma. He is not with Michael. He too is advising: “Everybody just needs to help each other right now.”

Many get their water from wells. Wells not helpful at the moment. They run on electricity.

This failure should not have been. Everyone knew Michael was coming. Trump told us on TV no problem, we have enough money.

In due course, we should be told two things. One, why the failure to prepare. The other, why is the money supposedly available not being used.

Enjoy your Sunday!

TRUMP AND FEMA YET TO REPORT FOR DUTY

Michael made landfall wednesday. Trump has yet to visit. FEMA boots on the ground few, if any.

A devastated people need to see their leader face to face. A visit/his visit would provide encouragement. Uplifting. Those affected need to see him.

Where is Trump? In different States most evenings conducting rallies to Make America Great Again and in anticipation of the November 6 elections.

Take your time Mr. President. The people of northern Florida are not going anywhere. In and out of the Panhandle next to impossible. However, Mr. President you have a helicopter. You can go everywhere. You should have been in Mexico Beach instead of Lebanon, Ohio.

FEMA. What is FEMA doing? What has it done so far? FEMA’s absence is obvious. FEMA’s boots on the ground are needed.

Instead, I see FEMA head Brock Long on national TV yesterday from Washington with a slew of other agency heads telling America what a good job they were doing. Shades of Bush 2, Brownie, and Katrina.

Talk is cheap at a time like this. Basics are needed. FEMA has to get them in. Water, food, ice, power, and shelter. Food and water immediately. Ice soon thereafter. To cool the body externally and internally. Power a given. No air conditioning, cooking, refrigerators operating, etc. without. Shelter. Something. Even a tent. It will be tent cities at first.

These people need help, not bullshit.

Irma hit the Keys last year. Heavy damage in some areas. Damage still exists in certain areas. As with many north Floridians, I evacuated. Eighty percent of Key West left. Irma was coming straight for us as a category 5. Fortunately, at the last minute it took a twist and went over Key West as a category 1. Sixteen miles up US 1 it became a 4. Destruction heavy from Cudjoe Key north to Marathon.

I wrote the only book re Irma. My personal feelings in getting out of its path, difficulty in avoiding Irma all the way up Florida, 12 days with friends in Birmingham, Alabama. The trip back. The destruction I saw coming down US 1. Key West’s desolation. Like the town had died. Difficulties the first few weeks. Difficulties yet to be resolved. Etc.

If you want to feel first hand what I did and what Michael’s ravishes have caused, read my book. Not technical. Personal. You will feel. It is available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Dinner last night at Andrea and Joe’s. The lady is a cook! Baked breaded chicken, mashed potatoes heavy with butter and sour cream, her home made butter, warm bread, etc. Dessert, cheese cake likewise home made.

I made it a pina colada night. Joe’s pina coladas brought me back to Aruba’s beaches. He is the master pina colada maker.

It has been off season in Key West. All over come friday. Tourists will bury the town. As many as 60,000 the night of the parade. I don’t know where they sleep.

Goombay is friday and saturday. Then Fantasy Fest for a week. Goombay for the kids. Fantasy Fest for adults.

Wisteria Island back in the news. The Blue Paper yesterday, the Key West Citizen today. The government is suing present owner Roger Bernstein. To settle title. The federal government says it owns the island. Bernstein says he does and his family has for years. Been paying taxes on the island for 50 plus years.

My friend David Wolkowsky was involved at one point. David “owned” Wisteria Island. He was not sure, but had bought it at some point from a third party.

It was 1967. David was constructing the Pier House. Wolkowsky borrowed $20,000 from Bernstein to build the Pier House’s bathrooms. The note was secured by Wolkowsky with Wisteria Island.

Bernstein would not extend David’s time to pay. He took title to the island in satisfaction. David not being sure the title was good, gave a quit claim deed which Bernstein accepted. A quit claim deed says in effect I am not certain I own the property. If I do, you get good title. If not, you get nothing but a worthless piece of paper.

The federal government’s claim in the lawsuit is based on things that happened in the 1820’s and 1920’s.

David passed on a a few weeks ago. I am sure David is smiling in his grave. Smiling at Bernstein who refused to extend his time to pay, took his island, and now may end up with nothing.

Bernstein for years has wanted to develop a resort hotel on the island.

No Syracuse football today. A bye week.

I am into ghosts.

Last night when driving home from Andrea and Joe’s, I passed the Hemingway House. No traffic. I stopped in the middle of the street. A light in an upstairs window. Did not see Hemingway.

A weird ghost story follows.

Amethyst Realm is 28. She lives in Bristol, England. She is employed as a spiritual guidance counselor.

She claims she has had sex with ghosts. Somewhere in the area of 20. Prefers them to men.

The first time was 13 years ago. She and her husband had moved into a new home. New to them. The first time she felt an “energy.” It became physical. She felt pressure on her thighs and neck. A heavy presence on her body. She could feel someone breathing on her and stroking her.

She claims a 3 year affair with the first ghost. Till a night when her husband came home and saw a “shadowy shape” on top of her. The ghost swiftly departed, never to return.

Since then, she claims experiences with at least 20 different ghosts.

She wants to get pregnant by a ghost. She has researched “phantom pregnancies.” Claims a ghost can impregnate. The problem is carrying the fetus to term.

I came across several other similar stories. One by a man.

Psychotherapists claim such sex experiences are hallucinations. They occur as one is falling asleep. The time between awake and sleep.

Sex with a ghost a step too far for me. On the other hand should I ever actually meet a ghost, I might change my mind. If there are ghosts, it opens the door to the possibility.

Donna and Terri taking me to dinner tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

MICHAEL’S CONTINUING SAGA

The old hymn…..Onward Christian soldiers. Michael appears to have moved to the tune. Though not with God on his side. In and out quickly. Did not hang around. In less than two days, did a number on northern Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. Now over the Atlantic, 185 miles east-northeast of Norfolk.

The Panhandle pure devastation. Comments include unprecedented damage, a war zone, communities obliterated, an Air Force Base wiped out, catastrophic, looks like an atomic bomb dropped, cars and boats piled up like rubbish.

Keeps going. Entire blocks empty, houses on them smashed by storm surge and wind, washed out to sea.

First responders going in. Difficult work. The war zone description repeated frequently.

Michael maintained hurricane intensity 200 miles inland. Unusual.

Though Michael far out to sea, Virginia still experiencing dangerous wind gusts.

Michael gone. Recovery help required big time. I do not hear of FEMA’s involvement. Sure they must be there. Tell us. I am concerned Trump will fail the Panhandle as he did Puerto Rico. It all comes down to money. Soon I suspect we will hear there is not enough money. Then what?

Sad stories. Every one of them. One of the worst, 11 year old Sarah Radrey. Staying with her grandparents in Georgia. A car port crashed through the roof and killed her.

God help Sarah, her parents, and her grandparents. Tragedy of the worst kind!

Stopped into the Chart Room first last night. John working. Had not seen him in a week.

The room was packed! Tight standing room only. Forget getting a seat. Highly unusual this time of year. Off season.

Met two nice people. Lisa and Bob. Celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary.

Lisa and Bob from River Edge, New Jersey. Bob affiliated with the New York City Carpenters Union. Lisa works for a podiatrist.

Two grown sons. Twenty four and twenty two.

Their third visit to Key West. Second time at the Pier House. First time stayed at the Ocean Key across the street.

We talked of many things. A bit of politics. Lisa and I on opposite sides of the fence. She watches FOX News!

Liked them. Hope to see them again the next time they return.

David showed up somewhere along the evening. Always good to see David. I enjoy his company.

Then to the Blue Macaw. Enjoyed a drink, brie and good company. Andrea, Joe, John, Doug, Mary, Donna, and Terri.

I was anxious to talk with Doug. He is a tour guide at the Hemingway House.

I have been into ghosts the past few days. First, South Carolina’s Gray Man. Yesterday, Key West’s Angel of Mercy Maria Gutsens.                      .

Researching for more ghost tales yesterday, I came across an article claiming Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline were making nocturnal visits to the Hemingway House.

Hard to believe! Doug would know.

Doug said no to Ernest, maybe to Pauline, but suggested Asa Tift as the real ghost. Asa was a wrecker/salvager in Key West’s early days. A self made tycoon. Built the Hemingway House for he and his family.

I could find nothing to substantiate the Asa story. Did come across more re the Hemingways.

Ghost appearances are technically referred to as manifestations. Many manifestations at the Hemingway House.

Hemingway writing in his loft work room, seen walking around the house, and standing on the veranda occasionally waving at passersby.

Pauline standing at the top of the central staircase looking to the loft watching her husband working and out the window her children playing outside. Occasionally standing at night by the gate smoking a cigarette.

One manifestation is hearing the typewriter clicking in the early morning. Supposedly, Hemingway writing. Could not be true. Hemingway did not type his works. He hand wrote them with a pencil. Then either Pauline or his sister would type them up.

My home bound trip from the Blue Macaw evenings takes me right by the Hemingway House. I shall be looking manifestations.

Key West’s humorous weather man at it again. He predicts this evening at 78 degrees and partly cloudy. Follows it up with…..Stars play peek-a-boo.

Traffic is reaching the breaking point on US 1. The only way in and out of Key West. The only highway through 140 miles of the Keys. Traffic especially heavy the past two years. A recent study attributes the increase to tourists. Claim tourists jam the highway.

Merely sharing. I have no comment.

Another study suggests two major medical problems. The first obviously the flu. The other too many C-sections. The number world wide has doubled from 2000 to 2015. The increase in the U.S. up as much as 30 percent in certain years. China up as much as 62 percent.

The message most of the C-sections not required. Medical problems for mother and child increasing as a result.

DOW doing well. Two days ago, down more than 800 points. Yesterday, more than 500. Today?

Trump’s lack of character evident with the Jamal Khashoggi situation. Trump says U.S. economy more important. We have a $110 billion agreement with Saudi Arabia for planes, etc. Trump says Khashoggi not even a citizen. Correct. He is a legal U.S. resident however and writes for the Washington Post.

News this morning says the $110 billion agreement mostly a holdover from the Obama administration. Actually, letters of intent. Not binding. Saudi Arabia has never purchased anything pursuant to the agreement.

Tonight, I dine! Andrea cooking. Joe making pina coladas. Andrea’s food preparation dining without question. Joe’s pina coladas fun.

Enjoy your day!

 

TERRI ON THE MEND

It was back to the Lower Keys Medical Center at 8 yesterday morning for the CAT scan. Properly home medicated before hand.

I thought I would have to go through Admissions again. I had no order form this time. No papers. I felt like my grandfather when he was getting off the boat from Italy.

Not a problem. The radiologist was waiting for me at the door to the hospital. She took me by the hand and lead me to her department. Telling me I needed nothing. She was using monday’s paper work.

The whole thing took 15 minutes. The radiologist was Mechelle. I spelled it correctly. That is the way her parents spelled it. A Navy family.

I was wobbly when I got off the table. Continued to walk a bit unsteady. Into the elevator and up to the third floor. Wobbly walk continued as I entered Terri’s room.

The radiologist told me not to drive. I might feel that way. I did.

Donna a good friend. She picked me up and after returned me to my home. Donna was with Terri. The hospital is 5 minutes from my home. Donna was happy to get out of the hospital for a few minutes. She has been sleeping overnight on a chair in Terri’s room.

Terri looked terrific! She looked like death warmed over monday. The doctors still do not know why her kidneys were screwed up. A high number. Now coming down.

Her immediate problem was blood. they discovered tuesday night she was losing blood. Gave her two pints. That is why Terri was herself when I saw her.

She was hungry when she woke. First time she ate while in the hospital. She was sitting up in bed paying her bills over her cell phone when I arrived.

Don’s Place first last night. Chatted with David, Toni and Becca.

Then to the Back Door at Aqua and Mark Watson. Mark very concerned about Terri. They are close.

Quiet. Three guys in drag walked through.

Parking is a gigantic problem during Fantasy Fest. Does not exist. Lucky to find a spot 8-10 blocks away. To visit Back Door, I park in the public lot behind the new fire station. Not last night. Signs all over the place…..No Parking.

A pain in the ass. Obviously the City is preparing to use the lot for the remainder of Fantasy Fest for something else. Probably the buses bringing in out of town tourists who come in for a day from Miami. Typical City Commission attitude. Screw the locals!

I finally found a spot on the street after driving around a few minutes. City meter. $2 an hour. Same as in the parking lot. Much less convenient, however.

Then to Tavern ‘n Town for something to eat. Quiet. Every one downtown.

Soup and an appetizer. Followed by Key Lime pie. I had not had a piece in a while.

Michael entertaining. He took a long break and we chatted at the bar. Presidential politics.

Two guys sat next to me for a drink. We talked constantly. Primarily, Presidential politics.

One of the men was Bill Glowka from the Mecca, California area. A CPA. He was all aglow telling me about his participation with Galilee Center in California. He is a board member. The organization assists the needy.

Take a look at their website. An interesting operation. www.galileecenter.org.

I have begun asking people who they favor for President. Seems more Trump than Hillary. Many not voting. Several doing write ins.

The Trump supporters are middle aged men with out a college education. Blue collar workers. The women decidedly for Hillary. Those not voting think both are so bad that neither is worth their vote.

William Hackley has been writing the past several days of his hunting exploits. Must be the way food was put on the table in 1855. He generally shot ducks, teal and goose.

I finally get my flu shot today. Later than normal. I totally recommend the flu shot. Started 16 years ago. No flu since then. Prior to that time, I was good for three attacks a year.

USA Today ran an article yesterday saying that women will earn as much as men in 170 years. Don’t buy it! Today’s women will not stand for it. Equality will be achieved in the next decade.

Enjoy your day!

 

RUNNING OF THE BULLS

Pamplona, Spain and Key West were one yesterday. The Running of the Bulls!

I was there. Hemingway look alikes. Dressed Pamplona style. White shirts and pants. Red berets and waist bands. White hair and beards, of course.

The bulls machete and wood on wheels.

The race as in Pamplona. Pure chaos. If real bulls, several of yesterday’s Hemingways would be no more. Fun to watch. Exciting.

Paula Deen in Key West again this year for Hemingway Days. Her husband Michael Grover a Hemingway look alike contestant. I did not see her this year.

Lunched at the Pier House Beach Bar afterwards. Duval was too busy and hot with all the people. Chatted with Janine.

I have always had difficulty spelling Janine’s name. What I am writing today is correct. First time I have had it right. I mentioned my problem with spelling her name. I added it was fortunate her sister Mary had a simple name. Janine looked at me and said no she doesn’t. Her name is spelled Mari. With an i and not a y.

Ran into Michael at the Beach Bar. Michael was already a Key Wester when I started coming 26 years ago. I first met him at Atlantic Shores. He was a regular. Bare assed and bronzed. I had not seen him in 15 years. He is still bronzed. As to bare assed, I do not know. He was not yesterday.

Spent some time later in the afternoon researching this week’s KONK Life column. More research to do and then writing it. Will be done today. The topic/title Harry Truman’s Mother In Law.

Dinner at Roostica last night.

Lobster Mini Season a few days away. Wednesday and thursday. Thirty thousand expected for the event.

This is year 50 for Christ of the Deep. A 9 foot bronze statue of Christ was planted under water in the John Pennekamp State Park near Key Largo fifty years ago. Only 25 feet down, many have seen and enjoyed the statue. Even to the point of touching Christ’s hands and face.

Heard from Anna again. She is still on Amorgos. Has a problem. She has to be out of her accommodation 7/31. Her ferry boat reservation is for 8/5. She is having trouble finding a room. No wonder. Things are cheap in certain areas of Greece this season. Even cheaper on a small hidden away island such as Amorgos. A place that has few accommodations to start.

Maybe she will have to sleep on the beach.

Anna tells me there are many French tourists. The reason is that a good portion of the French movie Le Grand Bleu was filmed in the waters off Amorgos. The French and others visit because of the film. It was a winner when first filmed. Won many awards. Today, a cult film.

The car works. The key turns easily.

Enjoy your Sunday!