35 VICTORIOUS YEARS

No, not sick yesterday. Had some morning business matters that required attention. Thank you for your concern.

Little guys can beat the big eyes. Small nations can defeat or take the best of larger nations. One example being the colonists in 1776 who eventually beat the mighty Great Britain. Another the Vietnamese who eventually forced us out of Vietnam.

Key West’s population a steady 25,000 over the years. The United States 330 million. Yet every year for 35 consecutive years, the tiny Conch Republic has defeated the forces of the United States.

Last night was the Great Sea Battle. As anticipated, the Conch Republic won. A tiny pirate ship and other small boats beating vessels of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Conch Air Force consisting of pre-World War II bi-planes defeating  U.S. Navy jets from Boca Chica.

An exciting evening!

I watched from the Ocean Key House Pier. Cheered the Conch Republic on. Got wet from the spray.

Did the Chart Room before and after. Crowded. John bartending.

KONK E-Blast ran an interesting article and video this morning. A Deputy Sheriff on duty observed a meteor. He followed it with his dashcam. Through the sky till it is exploded. The explosion visible, also.

Two of Key West’s premier entertainers are teaming up to do a wednesday night event beginning this wednesday. Bobby Nesbitt will sing and play the piano. Skipper Kripitz, the drums. Both together at the Little Room Jazz Club.

Bocce thursday night a disaster. My team lost all three games. If the trend continues, I am going to come off the inactive list.

The team is having a difficult season. Hard to understand. For at least 5 years, the team one of the top ones. Good! All of a sudden, cannot do anything right. Inexplicable.

The State has reported no ZIKA disease found in mosquito samples this year.

Trump stated friday his first hundred days were “just about the most successful in our country’s history.”

Trump set the standard for what his accomplishments would be. Other than a Supreme Court Justice, he failed from my perspective. It has to appear that way to his supporters, also. Unless they are so blind they cannot see. Better stated, do not wish to see.

I expect a deluge of comments tomorrow morning disagreeing with me.

Where o’ where is the USS Carl Vinson?

We are concerned with North Korea. The Vinson part of a “carrier armada” Trump told us was on its way to North Korean waters. The carrier was first diverted to war  games in the Indian Ocean. Games have been long over. Vinson does not yet appear to have reached the North Korea area.

Information in the Indian Ocean days was that the Vinson could make the 3,000 miles to North Korea in four days by traveling at full speed. Thirty five mph.

On April 28, 1945, the dead bodies of Mussolini and his mistress were hung upside down from a grid at a gasoline service station site in Milan.

On my first visit to Novara several years ago, I visited Milan often. A half hour train ride away. Anna is very familiar with Milan. She attended college there and then worked in Milan for several years.

The gas station where Mussolini was hung was one of the places we visited. All I could think was deserved retribution.

More robot/artificial intelligence information.

A Chinese technologist Kai-Fu Lee claims that within ten years  artificial intelligence will replace humans in 50 percent of all jobs.

We should/must pay more intelligence to robots and artificial intelligence.

A couple of Key West/Hollywood connections.

Gloria Swanson spent several of her younger school years living in Key West. Her father was stationed here with the U.S. Army.

On a yacht trip in 1939, Swanson returned to Key West with several friends. Spent a few days learning about Key West anew.

Big star Jennifer Jones and equally big director David O. Selznick guested at La Concha in April 1946. They were not married at the time. What is common place now was not back then. Non-marrieds sharing a hotel room frowned upon.

Selznick was married to another. My recollection, Jones was divorced.

We end on a happy note. One involving a sad despicable place. On this day in 1945, the Dachau concentration camp in Germany was liberated by U.S. troops.

Enjoy your day!

 

FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES…..

United Airlines. As far back as I can remember…..Fly The Friendly Skies With United.

No more. Screwed up their reputation big time two days ago.

Dr. David Dao a passenger. Flight not overbooked. Full, however. United needed 4 seats to transport a United crew to another city. Passengers all seated when request and offer made.

No one willing to accept the money United offered. Four passengers had to go. Dr. Dao one of them. He refused. Chinese, he thought he was being profiled.

You saw the video. Security yanked him out of his seat. His head hit the arm rest hard. Knocked him out. Head cut. Blood running out of his mouth.

Dragged off the plane.

Everyone videoing what was going on.

Stupid! Uncalled for! United not friendly!

Melania Trump in the news!

Nine months ago on August 20, 2016, a British newspaper the Daily Mail printed unkind and untrue statements about Melania. The Daily Mail is digitally available in the U.S.

Statements sordid and untrue.

Melania sued for libel. She recently settled. For $2.9 million and an apology.

I thought it was a cheap move when she sued. Some people do not believe in suing. Philosophically opposed.

I could see husband Donald in the background telling her to go for it.  Not so cheap as it turns out.

Lunched alone at Mangrove Mama’s yesterday. Bought some newspapers and drove up US 1.

Mangrove Mama’s has a flavor all its own. Old and rustic. Woodsy. A pleasant place to spend a couple of hours.

Spent some time later in the afternoon prepping for last night’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

My report re female genital mutilation a bit lengthy. Sad and revealing.

I do not understand the City of Key West. i refer to the Mayor, City Commission and others involved in the operation of Key West.

A never before problem has arisen. I sometimes think they create problems for the sake of doing so. The problem has to do with what a City employee may say if questioned by a reporter.

The dialogue by many concerned as reported confusing. Certain however is that transparency will ultimately take a hit.

Even in Key West, the people’s right to know is being diminished.

Politicians are prone to making stupid statements. the latest is Secretary of State Tillerson’s re the Ukraine at the G7 Conference in Europe. Tillerson asked his fellow attendees why American taxpayers should care about Ukraine.

An oil company CEO should not be Secretary of State.

The last 24 hours have found Trump being lauded for his missile bombing of Syria and his tough handling of world problems. Especially calling to task world despots.

I think Trump is doing wrong. He is challenging certain world leaders to war. Bringing us to the brink of war. The U.S.’s public statements about Putin and Kim Jong-un the fuel that initiates wars.

Putin and Kim Jong-un crazy. Trump, also.

Not a healthy situation.

What goes around comes around. Recall during the State of the Union address in 2009 when a Congressman shouted out to an Obama statement: “You lie!”

The person in question Rep. Joe Wilson.

Wilson held a Town Meeting this past week. His constituents continuously shouted out in unison: “You lie!”

Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions is a bigot and hater. A man whose head is still back in the 1860’s.

Note Sessions middle name is Beauregard. Sessions is so named after Confederate Civil War hero General P. C. T. Beauregard. Beauregard led the Confederates in the attack on Fort Sumter, the attack that began the Civil War.

Carsten Flemming Hansen was a 75 year old Dane. He was hospitalized with an aortic aneurysm and internal stomach bleeding problems. Non operable because of his age. He was told he had only hours or a few days to live.

Hansen asked if he could have a last request. He asked for a cigarette and a cool glass of wine. The hospital, though non smoking, accommodated him. He was taken out on the balcony to his room in a wheel chair as the sun was setting. Cigarette and wine in hand. His family with him.’

He died a few days later.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

DA VINCI’S LAST SUPPER

This morning’s Key West Citizen makes mention of Da Vinci’s greatest work, The Last Supper.

On one of my Milan trips several years ago, I was fortunate to view The Last Supper. Overwhelming!

I never realized til the viewing that Da Vinci had painted The Last Supper on a dry wall. It is roughly 15 feet by 28 feet. Contributes to the overwhelmingness.

The Last Supper was painted in the 15th century. Within 60 years, deterioration had begun. Nature, a war, etc. contributed further to its deterioration.

Finally in the 20th century, a 22 year restoration took place. Concluded in 1999.

The painting sits in a large room. The building the room is located in sits next to a large Church. However, The Last Supper is not in the Church. It is in the large room.

I make the distinction because to view The Last Supper before me was like being in Church. Solemn. Respectful.

I sat an hour taking it all in. An emotional time that stayed with me the balance of the day.

My day yesterday began with Lori at Blown Away. Haircut time.

Lori is a runner. Long distance. She recently competed in the KEYS 100 relay race. She ran 16 miles of it.

Lori is a tiny lady. Thin, of course.

She amazes me.

Then around the corner to the Cuban Coffee Queen for lunch and newspaper reading.

I normally enjoy Cuban cheese toast. Yesterday, I sexed it up. Added ham. Did not like it as much as without. I will be back to the cheese toast alone next time.

The Chart Room first last night. The new bartender at work. Emily has quit. She bought a home and some land in Indiana and will shortly be moving there.

Good luck Emily! You are a good friend who will be missed.

The new bartender is John. Appears to be a nice guy.

A fellow named JT came in. We started talking. Thirty nine years old. Went to Marist College. Majored in history. Has a Masters in education. Engaged now with the Poughkeepsie School District.

JT was a walk on with the Marist basketball team. I had attended Manhattan. The two colleges occasionally meet in basketball. The conversation was interesting.

JT and I had dinner together at the Hot Tin Roof bar.

On the way to my car, I passed the Chart Room. Che was inside. I had not seen Che in months. In fact, I had asked John about him earlier in the evening.

Che is not Cuban. His name misleading. He is a New York City Jew. Extremely intelligent.

Che is the only person I run into occasionally in my night time pursuits who is older than me. He is 86.

It was good to see him. And find him healthy!

Key West gasoline prices have risen in the last 5 weeks. Dramatically. From $2.05 a gallon to $2.63. This is how it began several years ago. I filled my gas tank yesterday. Cost me just over $30. The first time in months I have been in the 30s. Better however than the $60 it cost a couple of years ago.

We are into the Memorial Day Weekend. Tons of incoming US 1 traffic yesterday into the evening. Northern Boulevard busy, also.

There is always one! A man was riding a bicycle. The simple foot operated kind. The type that cannot go fast. He was driving down the Boulevard. In the middle of the driving lane. Ambling along. Not a care in the world. Traffic backed up big time behind him.

The wide sidewalk by the water was empty.

God is good! Sometimes even government.

For whatever reason, the road direction in Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is being changed to make way for a new entrance.  One hundred fifty five trees to be cut down.

Local bird lovers became incensed. The gray kingbird spends several months a year in the trees. A meeting was held. The problem discussed. The government acquiesced. At least 60 of the 155 trees will not be cut down.

This morning’s Key West Citizen makes mention of Maya Angelou having died this day in 2014.

Maya was in Key West one time, as I recall. Her dear friend Oprah planned a party for Maya’s 86th birthday. A long time Caribbean cruise. Referred to as a floating birthday party.

Oprah planned one day of the celebration for Key West. On Sunset Key.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

AQUA / MICHAEL’S LAST NIGHT

Aqua and Michael’s last night.

Stopped at Aqua first. Intended to spend time with Mark at the outside Back Bar. David was sitting at the inside bar. Stopped and chatted with him a while.

Then to the Back Bar. Mark always good company.

Where to eat? Decided on Michael’s.

A fair crowd for off season. I was disappointed Suzette was not bartending. I was also looking for Kim who I had met two weeks earlier at Tavern ‘n Town. Kim’s night off also apparently.

Tried the beef boneless ribs. Good. A bone sticking meal. Though no bones. The meat off the ribs buried in a good tasting sauce covering mashed potatoes and some other vegetables.

I have been thinking of getting off gin after 40 years. Wine has been in my mind. I have never been crazy about wine.

The daily special menu showed a special red. The name I do not recall. The composition on the menu took several lines to describe. All kinds of fruit tastes. I ordered a glass. My discerning tongue tasted no fruit.

I was bored at Michael’s bar. Never got a conversation going with anyone. Unusual in Key West to fail to becoming engaged in conversation at a bar.

My yesterday started with the anti-gravity treadmill. Went well. Still going at a slow speed and half time.

I was hungry at lunch hour. Opted for a cheeseburger and fries at 5 Guys.

The afternoon was spent reading and napping. Napping always the best time of the day.

Received two interesting communications yesterday.

Anna telephoned from Milan. All excited. Told me Italy had just passed same sex marriage. While we were talking, I went online to see the story. Anna did not have it quite correct.

Italy approved same sex civil unions. Everything short off same sex marriage. I was not surprised. What did surprise me was that Italy even went as far as it did in approving civil unions. The Catholic Church in Italy has a strong influence regarding same sex anything.

Nevertheless, the approval of civil unions an historical event.

Argos e-mailed me from Athens. I have never met nor communicated with Argos. However, he advised he has been reading my blog since my first Greece trip several years ago.

I have never addressed how Greek’s economic crisis has affected medial care. Argos brought the situation to my attention.

Things are bad! Don’t get sick! Especially seriously ill. Something like cancer.

Government medical plans are paying nothing or close to nothing. Government employees no longer working have no insurance plans.

Hospitals are short in every area. Painkillers and scissors in short supply. Bring your own blankets and sheets when entering a hospital. Cancer operations delayed four months or longer. Regardless of seriousness of the cancer. Many die before time for the operation arrives.

Five thousand doctors and 15,000 nurses have left Greece because they cannot get paid.

If no insurance, the person is put on a waiting list. Months to wait for hospital admission. If one wants surgery earlier, a bribe is required.

I never gave thought to this area of Greek life. Horrible!

Trump/Ryan meeting this morning. I am anxious to listen to the post meeting comments by both. I am a political junkie at heart.

Hillary has to start hitting back. At least through a surrogate. Trump’s charges are building up. Hillary’s quaint smile is not sufficient response.

My Syracuse University is screwed up athletically. Everything seems to go wrong.

Mike Doyle was hired less than a year ago to be Athletic director. Was on the job 310 days. He is taking the AD job at the University of Minnesota.

I blame central administration for the athletic department’s problems. SU is run like a major corporation. Decisions are made by the higher ups and those below are compelled to accept already made decisions.

One example. Boeheim never knew Syracuse was going to the ACC till after it was a fait accompli.

Read a recent article that said municipalities have received $2 billion in surplus military equipment over the past 10 years. State of Florida the most. $300 million.

We all have a general knowledge of that which makes up the military equipment. One item surprised me, however. Bayonets. 5, 638 of them. To use against demonstrators?

Enjoy your day!

 

JIMMY BUFFETT / KENNY CHESNEY

A lot to cover this morning.

Jimmy Buffett was in Cuba during the Obama visit. There is a photo of him on the internet joking around before the baseball game. Proper that Buffett be in Cuba these recent important days. He’s Key West’s man. Got his start here. He and Key West one.

While Buffett was in Cuba, Kenny Chesney was in Key West. Saturday at Sloppy Joe’s. A free concert. Traffic gridlock. People clogging the streets who could not get in. Sound equipment set up so they could hear.

I approve of Obama’s visit to Cuba. However a sense of hypocrisy overrides the visit. Obama publicly criticized Castro for human rights violations. What about Guantanamo? Our shame, our human rights violations.

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Yesterday busy busy.

Spent the afternoon fine tuning last night’s blog talk radio show. Did the show at 9. The Maldives tale drew much interest. Most people 30 and under have been divorced three times. Not a burden, not a cross. Getting married and divorced cheap and easy.

The Maldives have the highest divorce rate in the world. Reason. Horniness. For real.

Did Happy Hour at Martin’s with June. Her friends Peggy and Wayne joined us. Great conversation. Included Catholicism as it affected all of us growing up.

Then to Aqua. Aqua Idol finals. My friend Howard Livingston judging and performing. Stopped by to say hello. He had not yet arrived.

Left June at Aqua. She wanted to see the show. I headed over to Larry and Christine’s. They were having a party. Their parties always good. Everyone there. Including my former bocce team and his. I stayed two hours and left. Had to hurry home to do Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Larry advised he went to Yankee Jack’s memorial service at the Bull and Whistle sunday. A good crowd. I don’t know how he knew. The event was not publicized in the paper. I would have gone. Loved Yankee!

Big day in American history. On this day in 1775, Patrick Henry uttered his famous words: “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

Anna back home in Novara. She e-mailed what is happening. The Brussels bombings impacted life in the Mont Blanc area where she had been skiing over the weekend.

Mont Blanc is the highest point in Europe. Majestic. The roads do not go over Mont Blanc. Several mile long tunnels have been constructed beneath the mountain.

To get back and forth between Italy’s Courmayeur and France’ s Chamonix, a tunnel drive. Long.

Anna returned monday to Novara. Part of her trip was driving through the tunnel. Brussel’s explosions yesterday/tuesday. Anna reports authorities thought the tunnel was in danger. Italian and French military and police were all around and in the tunnel. The tunnel closed down , of course.

Immigration a problem Italy. Not so much Muslims from the Middle East. Rather, Muslims from North Africa.

Ann a wrote me of a tragedy which occurred sunday. A Romanian immigrant involved rather than one from North Africa. He tried to rob a 22 year old girl on the train connecting Novara and Milan.

A train I have taken many times. One Anna takes frequently. He hit the girl in the head with a hammer. Fractured her skull. He has been arrested for attempted murder. She operated on for a fractured skull.

The two dead Brussels terrorists must be disappointed. No 21 virgins.

Remember George Carlin. A great comedian in the 1960s and 1970s. Prone to use off color words during his shows. Carlin had a litany of seven dirty words. He described them as “filthy words.”

The words were shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.

Mom, forgive me!

He was arrested for using them on one occasion

In 2000, a law was passed establishing the U.S. National Recording Registry. To be maintained in the Library of Congress. Today Carlin’s seven dirty words become a part of the Registry. He joins such other memorables as the song I Will Survive and Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream.

Qualification for entry to the Registry is that the recorded words must be “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Carlin’s words acceptable on TV and in movies today. Not used often on regular TV. Used as they fit in on cable TV. Legal since 2010.

As with the Virginia Slims advertisement of many years ago, we have come a long way!

Syracuse plays Gonzaga friday in the Sweet Sixteen. Game time 9:40. Hope I can stay awake.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

JACK KELLY

My undergraduate school was Manhattan College. Over the past few years, Jack Kelly and I have run into each other at the Chart Room. Jack a Manhattan grad also. A bit younger than me. He graduated in 1968. I, 1957.

The Manhattan College thing provided instant bonding.

Jack once had a home on Cudjoe Key. Long gone. In recent years, he has been taking a week here and there to visit Key West.

Jack was at the Chart Room last night. Always good to see him. We talked a bit about Manhattan and some of the grads. One or two we both know. Then Jack surprised me. He is returning to Key West full time.

Jack is buying a home in Bayview. He is also in the process of closing on three restaurants. That’s returning big time!

One is the former Finnegan’s Wake. Last operated for several days as Backspace. Jack will be reopening it as Cayheuso. A tapas place.

Another is World of Beer. Near Sloppy Joe’s. Jack plans on naming the new establishment Jack Kelly’s Citizen. Such vanity! Not really. Turns out the location was the first home of the Key West Citizen.

The third place is on Front Street. Across from Two Guys. Not Island Dogs. Next door to Island Dogs. An empty two story commercial building.

The name of the new enterprise escapes me. Its purpose not. Jack intends it to be family friendly. In addition to food, etc., the restaurant will provide all kinds of games for the kiddies to busy themselves with. Even the parents.

Jack is retired Air Force. He presently lives in Washington, DC. He remains active with the Arnold Air Society.

Welcome back, Jack! Good luck!

Jack and I hung together for a few hours at the Chart Room. While there, I met Devin Callahan. A snow bird. He is in Key West frequently. Surprising we had not met before.

Then Wilk and Erin. Their second visit to Key West. Hail from Spring Lake, NJ. My cousin Lois had a summer home there and I frequently visited. A high rent district.

Wilk liked my watch. He kept looking at it and commenting. He has one similar to mine. The watch is nothing fancy. A SWATCH. I bought it at an airport kiosk in Athens three years ago.

I learned something about the watch. It is water proof. Never knew. He says he showers and everything with it on. Showed me on the back where it says Water-Resistant.

We got into Lobsterfest. Wilk and Erin are enjoying the event. He did mention however he was shocked when they had to pay $15 each for two broiled lobsters on the street. He initially thought the price out of line. So did I when he mentioned it. However after tasting and enjoying the lobsters, he said they were well worth it.

The high point of the conversation was when Wilk told me he was a Mercedes technician. Joy of joys! I bought a Mercedes 420 SEL new in 1987. Kept it 27 years before selling. In mint condition. Only 124,000 miles. Never driven in winter the last 20 years. Everything original and in good shape.

I took care of the Mercedes. Probably because it was the first expensive car I ever bought. Paid $54,000 cash in ’87. A lot of money for a car back then. A lot of money period!

Lobsterfest by the way appears to be a gigantic success this year. Makes me happy. Lots of kids. A family event.

Met Tyler and Sandy. Celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. Congratulations! They are from Cherry Hills, NJ. It was a New Jersey evening.

Tyler is in real estate. Sandy a distributor for Wegmans. Sandy was surprised I knew of Wegmans. Not a southern supermarket. I explained I originally am from upstate New York. Ergo, know Wegmans.

Jack, Tyler, Sandy and I ended up having a late dinner at Michael’s. Great food! Enjoyed the veal chop. The dinner conversation enjoyable. Humorous on occasion. Jack, Tyler and Sandy good company.

The lovely Suzette bartending.

A long day ahead for me. I will be writing this week’s KONK Life column. The research is complete. It is the story of Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurkowsky. Their love story. Agnes was Hemingway’s nurse when he was recovering from war wounds. Agnes is Catherine Barkley in A Farewell To Arms.

There is more to the story than most know. I will be tracing the impact of their love affair into the 1960s.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

INSANITY

Insanity continues to prevail in Key West. As regards the actions of the Key West City Commission.

I am beginning to think the City Commission considers itself omnipotent. That every issue is one for their consideration. No limits exist.

Every time the City Commission steps out of the box, time, energy and cost is wasted on an issue that is none of their business.

Road construction, trees, parking, contracts, the Police Department…..examples of what should be on their plate.

Not their most recent trip into never never land. I refer to the resolution that will be voted on regarding smoking in public places and parks. The resolution is scheduled for a vote tomorrow night.

As I understand the situation, the City Commission watched a movie regarding the dangers of second hand smoke. They were appalled. Decided a local law was required to prohibit smoking in public places and parks. Then found out they did not have the authority to do so. Smoking bans are the exclusive province of the State.

Not to be dismayed, the City Commission decided to pass a resolution instead. You can wipe your behind with a resolution. It has neither power nor effect.

The resolution asks the people of Key West to please not smoke in public places and parks…..to have consideration for others. Simultaneously, the City Commission is seeking a way to get the State to permit municipalities to rule on the issue. Not the State.

The City Commission is not elected to tell me or anyone else that smoking is prohibited in public places. It is a step too far as regards the smoking issue. Especially by a City Commission that assumes more power than it has.

Drums tonight! Not Drums Along the Mohawk as was written a few miles outside Utica. Near La Te Da Christopher’s home town also.

Tonight, it is Drums for Peace in Key West. At the corner of Truman and Duval. From 6-10. People can participate or listen. Whatever their pleasure. Drums will be provided.

I spent the better part of yesterday writing this week’s KONK Life column. It took a while for me to decide on a topic. I zeroed in on a political fray. As Tom Cruz stopped the government, so too did Washington ladies during Andrew Jackson’s Presidency. An interesting story. Shades of David and Bathsheba. Titled The Petticoat Affair.

KONK Life and the column hit the stands wednesday.

Michelle Obama is not going to the World’s Fair in Milan alone. Daughters Malia and Sasha are accompanying her. Together with grandmother Marian Robinson. The two day trip includes in addition to Milan, stops in London and Venice.

Michelle has responsibilities at each stop. Speaking in support of women’s education, health issues, and visiting American troops. A full plate for a 48 hour visit.

The Greece situation is reaching the boiling point. Perhaps one from which there is no turning back. Discussions sunday ended in 45 minutes. Nothing decided. Both sides adamant.

The unknown awaits. A European recession? A world wide one?

All interesting. Proving to the world that global activity is not necessarily in the best interests of those involved. The proposed Asian pact being another.

Today is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. No man above the law. Not even a king. The right to justice and a fair trial spelled out.

A freedom recognition document.

These freedoms are being trampled upon in the United States today. By Congressional decisions and Supreme Court opinions.

Enjoy your day!