HIS WORDS AND LETTERS…..SPECIAL

Two years ago, I wrote an article for KONK Life involving Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo. Merlo was the love of Williams’ life. The relationship tender and then tumultuous.

Tennessee Williams’ birthday is being celebrated this month. Many activities. One last night at Studios of Key West. His Words and Letters. Words and letters written to Williams’ closest female friend, Maria Britneva. Substantially involving the Williams/Merlo relationship.

Merlo’s influence on Williams is reflected in the fact that Williams wrote his finest works during their time together. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Rose Tattoo, and Night of the Iguana.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. A production well done.

Williams also wrote The Glass Menagerie. The Glass Menagerie was playing across the street at the Key West Theater while I was enjoying His Words and Letters.

Prior to the Williams’ show, I enjoyed La Concha’s happy hour while browsing the Sunday newspapers.

One of the items mentioned in yesterday’s Key West Lou video on Facebook involved outhouses. Details immaterial here. Final video comment was that Hemingway had the first indoor plumbing in Key West. Put in his home on Whitehead when he purchased it in 1931.

Bad day at Black Rock. Two basketball giants felled at the NCAA Tournament. Louisville and Duke.

So it goes

Congressional hearings begin today re Russia’s interfering in a U.S. Presidential election. Not the first time. Occurred once before. The election of 1796.

John Adams and Alexander Hamilton running for President. Great Britain and France had just concluded a war against each other. Bad feelings rampant in each country.

For some reason, U.S. support was important to each nation. John Adams, with the support of George Washington, backed Great Britain. Hamilton, France. Hamilton’s position was that France’s assistance during the Revolution mandated U.S. support.

France threatened open warfare with the United States if U.S. support was not forthcoming.

Adams was elected President. No war occurred.

I mentioned yesterday that Florida reported the screwworm problem was no more. A tried and true process had defeated the maggot type insects. The release of sterile screwworm flies. One hundred forty million since October.

Jean a female loggerhead turtle found sick in December. Taken to Marathon’s Turtle Hospital. She was impacted.

The hospital named her Jean. Cared for Jean till friday. A recovered Jean was released back into the ocean at Sombrero Beach.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

10,000 AT KEY WEST CEMETERY

It’s nice to be up and running!

Many of the sailors who died on the Battleship Maine are buried in the Key West Cemetery. On this day in 1900, a monument was dedicated in their honor at the Cemetery.

Ten thousand attended. An amazing number. Many had to be visitors from outside the Keys. Ten thousand a big number for Key West at that time.

I make mention of the 10,000 number to reflect the impact the sinking of the Maine had on the Nation.

Lunched at Mangrove Mama’s yesterday with June. Love the place! Enjoyed a lobster reuben sandwich again.

Spent the afternoon researching topics for tonight’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. One of the topics involves Trump. I hate bringing him up. My comments will be short and to the point. The man is dangerous!

Other topics include what the Presidential candidates are not talking about, ISIS and birth control, a California effort to help the drought problem, Count Victor Lustig selling the Eiffel Tower twice, Perry Como and the first gold record ever, and more.

The show is at 9 my time. A half hour of interesting and revealing facts. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Last night Tavern ‘n Town. Finally got a seat at the bar.

I enjoyed myself. An exceptional evening. Terrific people to chat with.

My evening began with Ed Toppino. A local. His grandfather built US 1.

Ed left and Jimmy took his place. First time meeting Jimmy. He owns and operates Jimmy’s Ocean Blue. A tiki hut behind the Hyatt timeshare near the end of US 1 on the backside of Tavern ‘n Town. Look for the beach house and there will be Jimmy’s. I intend to stop by soon for lunch.

Jimmy left to be replaced by three ladies. Interesting women. One vacationing for a month. The other two for shorter periods.

My evening was full. I was at the bar longer than normal.

I lost my eye glasses. Somewhere. Tavern ‘n Town to my home. Not in my house. Have searched home and car thoroughly. Called Marriott. They do not have them. My only hope is the bartender is holding them for me.

Fortunately, I have another pair so I can see.

If I fail to find the glasses, it will be a major calamity. I have had the frames for 30 years. Round horn rims. Merely replaced the lenses each time there was a new prescription.

GMO mosquitoes a problem for the Keys again. Especially my island, Key Haven.

The FDA approved their use. The FDA confirmed: “…..no significant threat to environment.” Confirmed and significant key words. I do not know what either means. Significant does not preclude something bad happening.

My other concern is that the GMO mosquitoes are relatively untested. Thus far, in a few places. One is a northern portion of Brazil. Since last October, 4,000 babies have been born with small heads and brains. For real. Tests being conducted to see if the GMO mosquitoes being tested responsible. The head/brain problem is mosquito caused.

A British company Oxitec manufactures and sells the GMO mosquitoes.

Our local Mosquito Board is hot to test Oxtec GMOs here. I think they are nuts. Jumping to soon for a new product. Forcing Key West citizens to be guinea pigs.

The purpose of the GMO mosquitoes is to help prevent Zika. A mosquito caused illness which could result in mental retardation and/or death.

There have been no reported cases of Zika in Key West, Key Haven, and the lower Florida Keys.

I screwed up yesterday re Syracuse and the NCAA tournament. I reported Syracuse failed to make the big tournament and was relegated to the NIT.

Syracuse did make the big show. It is a #10 seed and will play E#7 Dayton friday.

How did this happen?

I was dozing as the standings were announced. Half awake, my recollection is I did not hear Syracuse being selected. Slipped into sleep again. When I woke, four teams were on the screen. One, Syracuse. The announcer was talking about the teams on the bubble that did not make it. I erroneously assumed Syracuse was one of the teams he was talking about. I went back to sleep.

Sorry for the bad info.

Today is the Ides of March. The day of Caesar’s assassination. His closest friend Brutus was one of those participating. He stuck his knife into Caesar with others. “…..et te, Brute.”

An interesting lesson to be learned. Those closest to you can hurt you.

Primary Day in Florida. Vote!

I believe Trump has a lock on Florida. Bad. My other concern involves a local issue. The City of Key West wants to buy Peary Court for $55 million. Those who own it purchased the property last year for $35 million. A $20 million profit in one year. Not bad!

It is up to the people. It is on the ballot. Interestingly, there are a number who support the purchase. I find it hard to understand.

Enjoy your day!

 

JOE BTFSPIK OF LI’L ABNER FAME

A little Al Capp to be reincarnated. Not today. In next week’s KONK Life column.

I completed the research yesterday. Following a long early afternoon nap. It would be interesting if the inspiration had come as a vision while asleep. It did not. I thought about it in the morning.

The column will not be a Li’l Abner, Daisy Mae, Dogpatch story. I needed Joe Btfspik. The little guy with the black cloud over his head.

Btfspik will be the introduction. Introduction to a great inventor who never made a penny from any of his inventions. A black cloud over his head.

The column will be written tomorrow.

The only time I was out of the house yesterday was in the morning to work out on the anti-gravity treadmill. The power went out. Strange to stand there on the machine in the pitch black. I was locked into the machine. Could not move. Fortunately, the power was out only eight minutes.

I was to attend two gallery openings last night. I cancelled. I was dead tired. Too much out and about during the week.

Tonight, back on the road. San Carlos. The Waterfront Playhouse is having a fund raiser. Many to attend. A similar show being presented at the same time at the Waterfront Playhouse.

A sell out. No tickets available since wednesday.

The weather forgets this is Key West. By this time, it should be sun every day. Not so. Cold yesterday. Cold today. Cold during the night.

Sixty five at the moment. High supposed to be 75. Hot! We shall see. Sunday night temperature will drop to high 50s. That is cold! Poor weather to continue through friday.

The NCAA is a black cloud over college basketball. The Joe Btfspik of college basketball.

Louisville self imposed a sentence/penalty yesterday. Announced Louisville would not be playing in any post season tournaments this year.

Pitino was unaware. Administration made the decision.

The NCAA has Pitino in its gun sight. Perhaps deservedly so.

There is an anguish that goes with an NCAA investigation. For team, coach, school and fans. Syracuse suffered through a ten year investigation till the bombs fell. Boeheim got a raw deal. Nothing will change my mind.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

THE NATURE OF THINGS

When it wants, nature commands.

Very early yesterday morning, I stepped out onto my deck. I was amazed at the calm. There are many days when everything appears calm, but yet there is a slight movement in a palm leaf or something. Yesterday, no movement. Nothing at all.

Reminded me of Hurricane Georges. The night before was the same. Quiet. Peaceful. Absolutely nothing moving.

I learned back then the meaning of calm before the storm. Georges hit hard the next day. So too the storming yesterday afternoon and last night. Extremely heavy rain. Joined by thunder and lightning throughout the night.

Yesterday began with the anti-gravity treadmill. Continued with the 30 second fast thing. Increased the speed more than previously.

Then to Lee Nails and Tammy for a manicure and pedicure. Lee Nails amazes me. Tammy and her husband have built a huge following.

There was a break in the rain at dinner time. I decided on Hogfish. Mentally it seemed like the place to be after the rain. I was right. You could taste and smell the rain. All pleasant. Enjoyed my time at the bar.

I screwed up. I mentioned the other day that the Boat Parade was this saturday. Fortunately, I received many e-mails correcting me. The Boat Parade is a week from saturday. This saturday is the Christmas Parade. An event! Enjoy it somewhere along Truman.

Boeheim’s NCAA appeal has been decided. The only change was that the 9 game penalty begins saturday with the Georgetown game. Instead of at the beginning of the ACC season. A better result than before. Still sucks.

A raw deal for Boeheim. He had no direct tie to the charges. Which in and of themselves did not warrant the overall harshness of the original decision.

Few know the composition of and how the NCAA works. Worthy of a column at some point.

I have not been a fan of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for some time. They are a traditional group to the far right. Similar to the Protestant religious far right. The Bishops are generally in opposition to the changes Pope Francis is working to bring about.

The bishops recently met in Baltimore. Note that many did not show up for the scheduled meeting. Those present prepared a political document to guide Catholic voters.

The nerve of them! Priests belong in church preaching God’s word from the pulpit. Not in the public market place telling me and other Catholics how we should vote.

The bishops are way out of line.

Trump is beginning to get under my skin again. When asked how things will get done, he says it’s all about management. Skillful management contributed to the death of six million Jews.

Trump is a loose cannon.

Syracuse plays Georgetown tomorrow. A battle between former Big East foes. Syracuse/Georgetown games were always exciting and hard fought. Tomorrow should be interesting. The game is at 1 on FOX.

My weekly interview on KONK News takes place on local radio 104.9 at 12:15 today. Fifteen minutes of me answering questions and discussing this week’s KONK Life column The Eiffel Tower.

Enjoy your day!

SLING SHOT COURAGEOUS WEAPON

A weapon from Biblical times. A rerun of David and Goliath.

Modern warfare involves the use of modern day weapons. Guns, armored vehicles, etc. Apparently not always.

A West Bank scenario.

This morning’s Key West Citizen carries a picture of a Palestinian fighter. In front of him fire, black and gray smoke. I assume beyond unseen Israeli soldiers, armored vehicles, whatever. Something.

The Palestinian fighter is using a sling shot as a weapon. He is viewed swinging a sling.

My observation. A person willing to face the enemy and modern weapons of war with a sling shot has courage. Great courage. In addition to a solid belief in the righteousness of his cause. He will never be beat. He will never win. He will hang in there through everything.

The lesson to be learned simple. Israel and the Palestinians better make peace. Otherwise this mess is going to turn into a 100 year war. One that no one wins.

The weather the same as the past two days. With two exceptions. The wind less strong. There are no white caps. Though the trees are still bending. The sun is shining brightly. It has not for two days.

Hurricane Wilma hit Key West in October 2005. A bad result. Big time flooding. As high as 6-7 feet in many homes.

Lisa had moved back into her house three months before. It had been extensively remodeled, new furniture purchased.

The water was 6 1/2 feet deep in Lisa’s home. The walls had to be ripped out up to 6 1/2 feet. Wet furniture thrown out. Mold the problem. The trashing required to be done immediately.

Lisa also lost her car.

Most families moved into trailers provided by the government. Most lived in them for 1-2 years. Lisa and family moved into my home. They were here a year. The problem was not the insurance payment. It was getting the contractor to do the job. Contractors had more work than they could handle.

Wilma did not touch my home. The house is built on top of eight feet of soil. The driveway pitched.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. I was on a soap box. Venting about things that bothered me. Two especially.

The Republican screw up in the House of Representatives. Disgraceful. I would say the same if they were Democrats. The Republicans must get their act together and govern. That is why they were sent to Washington.

The other is the sex scandal that has hit Louisville and Rick Pitino. Pitino says he did not know. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he will still lose his job. I assume the same theory that was applied in Boeheim’s case would be applied to Pitino: If you did not know, you are still responsible because as coach you are #1, head of the program and required to know everything about the team.

I do not agree. Nor did I agree with what happened to Boeheim. The NCAA is as bad as the hierarchy of the NFL when it comes to running things.

On the other hand if Pitino knew, he should be fired.

Per my usual routine, Roostica for dinner before the show.

Saturday football coming up again. Syracuse plays Pitt. Pitt a six point favorite. I say no more.

Enjoy your day!

 

JIM BOEHEIM…..A CLASS ACT

I just read the shocking news. Shocking from my end. I speak for no other person in this regard.

I know Jim Boeheim. A good man. The penalties against him are an insult to him personally and to his illustrious career. So there is no misunderstanding, I am saying that the suspension and 108 games vacated unfairly impact him.

Boeheim was convicted (it is a conviction) per the NCAA rule requiring head coaches to be responsible for violations in a school’s program. In a nutshell, Syracuse failed to police itself with regard to sports activities. Under the rules, someone must bear responsibility. That person is the head coach. Boeheim in this instance.

Severe! Unreasonable! Impossible of compliance! If each division I school were scrutinized, each would be guilty of some infraction(s). Some minor. Miniscule. Is each head coach to be punished since he bears responsibility as head coach for any NCAA violations?

Boeheim is two seasons away from 1,000 career victories. The NCAA vacation of 108 Syracuse wins effectively makes reaching that goal impossible.

Additionally, holding Boeheim personally responsible as head coach is a non sensical approach to maintaining the integrity of the game. Someone has to pay is the cry. A head must fall. The head coach the victim.

Boeheim said that a “…..coach can’t be responsible for everything.” I agree with him.

There are two things which are part of the mix. The Syracuse investigation took eight years. Unheard of. Unprecedented. The other is that Syracuse self-reported itself when it became aware of certain violations.

The process has improperly penalized a stand up guy with a distinguished record. Boeheim is 70  years old. Concededly in the twilight of his career. A tough way to go out.

Paterno and Penn State were charged with far more serious offenses. Paterno was summarily executed. He died believing his life’s work was tarnished. Now, we find out that the Penn State wins vacated have been reinstated. It is further expected that Paterno’s statue will in the next year be returned to its place of prominence on campus.

Boeheim’s reputation has been placed in jeopardy by the foolish and unfair NCAA rule making the head coach responsible for all wrongdoing. I hope he sees the wrong done him rectified in this life rather than thereafter as in Paterno’s case.

WOE IS SYRACUSE

Syracuse basketball has been under investigation by the NCAA for a couple of years. No findings reported yet. Yesterday, it was announced by Syracuse that it was self imposing a ban on playing in any post season tournaments this year. The NCAA, the NIT, and the ACC.

The investigation goes back as far as 12 years ago and as recent as 3 years ago. Word is that it primarily involves academics. Drug use by players in the earlier years may also be involved.

The NCAA’s report will be revealed soon.

As a most interested basketball fan, if Syracuse has to be punished this is the best year. The team’s record is bad. I doubt we would have been invited to the NCAA.

Syracuse will stand tall, take the hit and move on.

Visited Lisa yesterday. Jake, too. Jake is amazing! He now respects me as one of the family. We get along well. Which was not always the case.

I stopped at Walgreens to pick up a prescription. As most seniors, I take a lot of pills. I have a complaint. Co-pays are dramatically higher this new year.

The drug companies have had a free ride too long. It is time they were reined in.

I dined at Ibis last night for the first time. It has been open about three years. Stone crabs item #1 on Ibis’ menu.

I did not enjoy stone crabs. After the lobster roll the other night, it would have been too much in one week. Someone in my party did, however. Five large stone crabs. Looked smaller than large actually. $50. If my recollection is correct, the catch has not been good again for the third straight year. Restaurants are paying a high price for the delicacy. It has to be passed on to customers.

Sharon was waitressing. She bartended at Don’s Place for years before moving onto Ibis. It was hug and kiss time.

The weather yesterday was a warm 77 degrees. Rain is predicted off and on today. It is raining at the moment. I am sitting at the kitchen counter. The glass sliding doors are open. I can smell, taste and hear the rain.

The circus has come to Key West! Every year at this time. It starts today and ends sunday. I hope to get to watch it again with Robert and Ally.

My KONK Life column was published in the paper yesterday. I posted it on my Facebook site this morning. The topic interesting and timely. Greece In The Driver’s Seat.

In line with the substance of the column, it was reported in the international news this morning that the European Central Bank is taking a tough stance regarding Greece. The Bank is refusing to loan money to Greece’s commercial banks. The economic war has begun. The gauntlet thrown.

Enjoy your day!