HAPPY BIRTHDAY AFGHANISTAN

Yes, it is Happy Birthday Afghanistan! Sixteen years ago, the United States invaded Afghanistan. The war has turned out to be the longest in U.S. history.

No end in sight. Getting worse.

Thousands of American dead. Thousands more maimed.

Civilian deaths increasing.

Death rate of children is up 9 percent from 2016. Women, 23 percent.

From 2015-2016, opium production up 43 percent. The war, graft, and money responsible.

Sixteen years ago, the number of opium poppy fields was low. The Taliban were anti-opium production and had forced production to be dramatically reduced.

Then came the U.S. invasion. The invasion the major reason for the substantial rise in production. The Taliban were defeated. Today, Afghanistan provides 90 percent of the world’s opium supply.

I have written and said the past few years how interesting it is that with all the warring and battles going on in Afghanistan, not one poppy field has been destroyed. Our people die. Afghans, also. The poppy fields and those working them, not.

The reason is simple. Washington mandates their protection. Called politics. Our Marines serving in Afghanistan are guarding the poppy fields.

Many Afghans are dependent on poppy work for their livelihoods. They live better than those not involved who are indiscriminately being killed.

There is a fear in Washington that if the poppy fields were destroyed, the people supporting the U.S. would turn against us. Instead of eradication, the U.S. supports a change in what is grown. The U.S. has a program of teaching Afghans how to grow other things such as wheat and corn.

Not smart. For one simple reason. There is not the same monies to be made off wheat and corn. Poppy much more profitable. Significantly so.

The Marines know it. They take their orders from Washington, however. No matter how you view it, Washington is pursuing a path that will not lead to eliminating the poppy fields.

With all the money being made, there has to be some changing hands. Who, how, when, where, I do not know. However you do not have to be a genius to recognize it has to be a fact.

Poppy becomes opium. Opium, heroin. Heroin rampant on the streets of the United States. Killing many every day.

Overdosing has resulted in a tsunami of bodies. Opioids a crisis. Trump campaigned that opioids were a crisis and he would deal with it as such when elected. He appointed a Commission immediately to study and report back with recommendations for him. The Commission did. It said opioids were a crisis and the U.S. should pursue it as such.

Trump declined to do so. He changed his position. He claimed it was not a crisis and could be dealt with effectively on a non-crisis basis.

In the meantime, the medical field claims opioids constitute the worst epidemic in drug history. Medical examiners/coroners cannot keep up with the number of bodies to be autopsied. Many are leaving the field.

In 2016, there were 64,000 overdose deaths. Bodies awaiting autopsy are backing up. Cold storage trailers are being used to hold bodies awaiting autopsy. Some medical examiners are requiring those delivering the bodies to find another place for them till they are ready to perform the autopsy.

Such is the story of Afghanistan on this the 16th year of the war. A terrible evolution. No resolution in sight.

I wanted to watch Syracuse/Pitt yesterday afternoon. Stayed home to watch it from the comfort of the couch. The game was not available via Comcast on any channel. Sad because Syracuse won. 27-24. I would have enjoyed watching my team win.

The Chart Room first last night. David, Shaun, and Kevin. Met Ray. Visiting from Cape Coral. Comes down several times a year.

NRA and politics topics of discussion. No one yelled at anyone. Kevin behaved himself.

Stopped at La Te Da for a bite to eat afterwards.

A post Irma report.

Progress being made. However, slowly. Too much debris and too much damage. Everyone busting their ass. Recovery will take time.

Some places not open yet. Others advising they will not be open for Fantasy Fest. The list long of those who will be open by Fantasy fest and those that will not. Included are 2 Cents, Virgilio’s, Better Than Sex, Regal Cinema, Burger King, and the Yamaha dealership.

Molly died. Molly the dolphin. Fifty plus years old. The matriarch at the Dolphin Research Center.

Molly is believed to have been the oldest living dolphin in captivity.

In her senior years, Molly took to watching over the new born. In grandmotherly fashion. Helping to raise them, teaching them.

Happy birthday to William Hackley. He turned 50 on October 7, 1856.

Robots keep coming! Used in one business today, another the next.

The newest robot is Sally the Salad Robot. Sally’s sole function is to serve as a salad bar of sorts. Apparently, a Sally is needed. Salad bars are magnets for bacteria and viruses.

A Silicon Valley company called Chowbotics manufacturing Sally robots.

Neo-Nazis have returned to Charlottesville for the third time since the August 12 confrontation. Quick visits by a small group. In and out. Led by Richard Spencer, an alt-right leader and founder.

The Mayor said, “You’re not welcome here! Go home!”

The neo-Nazis chant during their visits: “You will not replace us. You will not erase us. / “We’re back and we’re going to keep coming back.” / “Get used to the alt-right. You’re going to have to get used to white identity.”

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

AFRICAN CEMETERY

There is a goodness to Key West people. Unique.

Key Westers are caring. Be down on your luck and the locals rise to help.

Such is not a recent thing. The year 1860 an example.

The US Navy captured three American owned slave ships. Transported more than 1,400 of the Africans on board to Key West. These were not slaves. They had been captured in Africa and were on their way for sale in Cuba and central America. At which time they would become slaves.

They were refugees at the time of their salvation. African refugees.

Key West immediately pitched in. Constructed housing and a hospital. All in what today is the Higgs Beach area. The hospital needed to care for Africans made sick or injured during the trip from Africa to where the vessels were captured.

More than 100 died. Some believe the figure to be 245. Whatever, the dead refugees were buried at Higgs Beach.

Forgotten by time. Till 2002. Some repair/maintenance work was being done int he Higgs Beach area. A few bodies were discovered. Bones that is. Experts called in. Utilizing ground penetrating radar, the remains of more African refugees were discovered.

Certain locals got together to make sure the graves would never be disturbed. The area was determined to be an African Refugee Cemetery. The area fenced off. A series of pedestals and other items erected explaining and commemorating what lie below.

A Day of Remembrance is held once a year. Today that day. From 6-8 this evening, a ceremony will be held. African dignitaries attend from various parts of Africa. Including a King. The King has become an annual visitor.

Spent three hours late yesterday afternoon sipping, enjoying the view and chatting with others at Louie’s Backyard. The Outside Deck.

Then home. I craved the sauce and meat Fran Dixon from Buffalo had recently brought me. The food was frozen solid. I could not wait for it to thaw. Ergo, microwave required. A problem existed. The sauce and meat were frozen in a plastic container.

I telephoned Fran in Buffalo. She and Tom were in the car on their way to dinner.

Explained my plight to Fran. She said micro 2-3 minutes. The frozen block will slip out. Plastic container will not melt.

I performed as directed. No problem. Transferred the food to a large microwavable bowl. Twenty minutes later, hot sauce, meatballs and pork.

Dinner simple. Dunked bread in the sauce. Ate the meatballs and veal. Nothing left at the end. Magnifique!

I live and learn. This time via Diana Millikan.

Diana is renting an apartment on a canal running along side Hilton Haven Road. Boats are parked on the canal. The boat in front of Diana’s place is named the Head Honcho.

The toilet on a boat is referred to as the head. Perry Chaing’s business is cleaning out the heads. A big business. Name of boat derived therefrom. Head Honcho.

What I learned. Years ago, toilets/receptacles were placed at the bow or base of the bow. The head of the vessel. The splashing waters would clean the toilets/receptacles.

Today, boat owners and boats world wide are sophisticated. Head Honcho’s hired!

Head Honcho’s business in Key West is known as Marine Sanitation Solutions Inc.

Tomorrow the eclipse. The moon will block out most of the sun. A shadow will be cast over the Earth. Around 3 in the afternoon. Wear the special glasses!

St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church is located on Truman Ave. The Church was dedicated this date in 1904. Still stands more than 100 years later.

I attend Church infrequently. However when I do stop into St. Mary’s, I am subjected to the warmth of a small island Caribbean house of worship. Sun shining in. A touch of warmth. A flavor not experienced elsewhere.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

BERLIN’S ON A FRIDAY NIGHT

It had been a couple of months since my last visit to Berlin’s. It had also been a couple of months since Jenna and I were last together.

We had dinner last night at Berlin’s.

It was catch up time.

Jenna is studying for a realtor’s license. Difficult, she said. Still filming and modeling. The modeling primarily in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

I keep telling her to find a rich man and get married. She complains the ones with money are all too old. Jenna a mere 30. Seeks a contemporary age wise. Key West a difficult place for two heterosexuals to come together.

She traveled quite a bit this summer. Two weeks home in Indiana, a trip to Los Angeles to visit a girl friend, Chicago, etc. A tough life!

She leaves for a one week trip to Hawaii in two weeks.

I told her maybe if she stayed home in Key West more, she might score guy-wise.

Jenna is a knock out! No question about it. Thirty has not affected the freshness of her beauty in any way.

We laughed our way through dinner.

Jean Thornton and the ladies showed up. Sort of a girls’ club. They dine together frequently. Sweet Janyne was with them.

I had run into Jean earlier in the evening when I stopped at the Chart Room for a drink before leaving to meet Jenna.

English Peter showed up. He had been at the Chart Room earlier when Jean and I had. Peter came for a drink and ended up having dinner. Jean and I wanted to treat. We could not agree who should pay. We ended up sharing his bill.

Ran into two interesting couples.

Tim and Susie from the midwest. Middle aged. Impressed me. They kissed even when she left to go to the ladies room.

Tim and Susie have been coming to Key West for 20 years. They have a time share at Banyan Court. One problem this year. They miscalculated their week and arrived a week too early. No room at the inn.

They stayed at the new Perry Hotel on Stock Island. Absolutely loved it! View and room spectacular. Service outstanding. Cheap. $170 a night.

Another couple was from Coral Springs. Did not catch their names. The husband said, “You’re the novelist!” No one ever called me a novelist before. The sound of it felt good. I am aware that even though I write, a novelist I am not.

The couple remembered me from the Chart Room on a previous trip. That triggered my memory. They are in the real estate business. Have a boat. Come down to Key West every 3-4 weeks for a long weekend. Sleep on the boat.

Stopped at the Chart Room first. Already mentioned I visited with Jean and Peter. John, also.

Several years ago, I met an extremely nice couple. Thirty-forty years younger than me. They had a home by the cemetery and visited Key West often. We got together frequently. Then about 4 years ago, we never saw each other again. Why, I don’t know. Maybe they disliked me.

I did not have their number. The wife had mine. She would make the arrangements.

I am having a senior moment. I cannot remember their names.

Last night, I did recall their faces. They were in the Chart Room. Went over and jokingly chastised them for having forgotten me. Both laughed. The wife and I hugged. Always a sweet woman!

She said forgotten I was not. She continues to read my blog every day.

His father was with them. I told him the kids should be ashamed having cast me aside.

I left asking them to call me for dinner.

On the way to the Chart Room, I stopped at Publix. Don’t laugh. I bought 10 Power Ball tickets. Picking today. The prize $535 million.

I never buy lottery tickets. In all the years they have been out, I probably have purchased them six times. Maybe I’ll have beginner’s luck.

A good night!

Two rallies today. The nuts and anti-nuts. One in Boston and one in New York City. At noon and 1 respectively. Will watch both on TV.

Enjoy your day!

VICE NEWS re CHARLOTTESVILLE

This blog has been titled from day one My Life In Key West. Such is why at some point I detail my day before.

Which brings me to yesterday. I never left the house.

My yesterday was Louis glued to television and the internet. Searching information re Charlottesville. Most of it repetitious, some new.

Included was a Vice News’ report which contained an interview by a Vice News reporter. A portion of her report was a personal interview with Christopher Cantwell who appeared to be a white supremacist leader.

The reporter a slight young lady. White tee shirt and jeans. Long dirty blond hair braided. Large eye glasses.

Looked like a college student. Could not have been. Too smart. Obviously experienced. Smarter than the people she interviewed.

She did a first class job. Got the personal interview with Cantwell, became a passenger in the van transporting Cantwell and others from one place to another. She was accompanied by a top camera man. His shots of her and the scenes taken during the protest professional.

The Cantwell interview is available free on You Tube. Twenty two minutes. I recommend it to you.

I am going to share portions of the interview and comment on certain video shots of the protest with you as my blog for today. What happened in Charlottesville and in the few days since are important to all Americans. As are the rantings of President Trump yesterday.

The video started with a shot of white supremacists walking down the street carrying large torches. A long shot. Hundreds parading. Intimidating.

Reminded me of Hitler tapes showing his brown shirts parading in 1930’s Germany.

Loudly chanting in unison as they marched along: Jews will not replace us…..Blood and soil…..Whose Streets? Our Streets…..

White supremacist leader Christopher Cantwell: We make ourselves capable of violence…..Donald Trump gave his daughter to a Jew…..Jew like Jared walking around with the white girl Ivanka…..Go kill these people if we have to…..They are anti-white vermin, anti-white filth…..Jewish Communists…..We are slowly unveiling our power, you ain’t seen nothing yet…..We are part of a national movement worldwide…..

The Vice News video reported the  white supremacists to be well organized. Came ready for the event. Shields, helmets and clubs.

At one point, a group of white supremacists were at Lee’s statue and unable to get out. A crowd from the other side was closing in on them. The white supremacist leader on the phone said he would get them out and now. He had 200 men with guns.

It appeared he was not needed yet and would be called back if the 200 were required.

Police conduct interesting. I reported in my Key West Lou Live video on Facebook and in my podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou that the police did not engage. They appeared restrained. Police orders were to not engage if both sides were fighting, unless ordered to do so by higher command. The order never came.

I was correct.

The police were only authorized to move the groups along.

The Vice News video shows police standing across the way watching, not engaging. Behind barricades. There were shots of the police attempting to move the crowds along. Their efforts appeared ineffectual and were ineffectual.

Turns out, police have what they describe as a reconsidered intervention strategy. Let the protesters fight. If police intervene, the thought is the situation would be aggravated.

Charlottesville is the second time the new strategy has been used. The first was at Berkeley in February.

I suspect the police want to avoid injuries to themselves. Why shed blood for blacks who do not like them and whites who do not respect them.

Trump’s words yesterday have emboldened the Alt Right. Boston this coming weekend is going to be interesting.

Our nation is in a new day. The vermin have come out. They are supported by the President.

The onslaught must be stopped now. Otherwise, the crazies, the brown shirts and the white sheet nuts will take over. The America we know will be no more.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

SHAME AND DISGRACE

 

Abraham Lincoln’s head hung in shame last night as he sat in his monument in Washington. His mind run through with the disgrace of it all.

Charlottesville, Virginia. A moment that will go down in American history. A moment when the dark side of man came to the forefront. Anti-color, anti-Semite, anti-affirmative action, and anti-establishment.

Domestic terrorists. American born and bred.

The trouble makers a significant part of Trump’s base. It cannot be denied. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan. Dissidents all.

From day one, Trump has encouraged violence. The manner and words he used in the primaries and election against opposition. His yells to those who spoke out against him  at rallies to be thrown out, beaten. His promise to pay the attorney bills of anyone arrested. His chants to jail Hillary.

It goes on. The man is mad. He drives those who are mad. They feed off him.

Breitbart News is a leading white supremacist supporter/outlet. West Wing adviser Steve Bannon was once its CEO. Stephen Miller, who I have likened to Joseph Goebbels, wrote for the publication.

Yesterday represented America’s Arab Spring. With one significant difference. Egypt’s Arab Spring was a protest against a corrupt government. Charlottesville’s in support of evil in its many forms.

Yesterday afternoon was Robert and Ally time. Interestingly, we discussed what was blaring on the TV sets while having lunch at the new Denny’s.

Robert and Ally had a handle on the situation. I was amazed and impressed. At 13 and 12, they understood the right and wrong of Charlottesville.

At first, I was surprised. As I thought further, not. If I and my friends had a grasp on Hiroshima at the age of 10, Robert and Ally a few years older could have an understanding of Charlottesville.

Liked Denny’s! My first time. Robert and Ally had been before and recommended that we have lunch there.

Then to a unique experience. Key West Room Escape.

I questioned when I made reservations whether Robert and Ally would enjoy it. Even if I would. We all did!

Located in the Casa Antigua on Simonton, The Escape consists of two rooms. We were locked in. We were told we had 60 minutes to find the last page of Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms manuscript.

Not easy! Mentally arduous! Required team effort. We worked together.

I could not have provided Robert and Ally with a better afternoon. Nor Poppa. The grandkids got right into it. Their intelligence obvious. Not an easy task to find the page.

I found Robert and Ally’s mental acuteness exceeded mine. No question about it.

We failed. One step away. The last one. However, we were not able to figure out the last clue.

Young or old, go! You will leave excited. The Adrenalin running.

The proprietor is Kyle Turk. He watches at all times via hidden cameras. Periodically suggests whether you are hot or cold in your quest to discover the next clue.

Turk has come up with a winner. Different and exciting. I hope it takes hold.

I never made it to Giorgio and Sharon’s Sons and Daughters of Italy dinner party last night. I was exhausted by the hunt. Dropped Robert and Ally home. Did not stay. Went to my home. In bed at 6. Never got out.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

BRING YOUR KAYAK

I was on my way to the Chart Room last night at 9:30. The intersection of Duval and Greene Streets was flooded.

It is that time.

The reasons for the flooding: Higher than normal tides, steady winds out of the northeast, and sunday’s full moon. The Key West Citizen reports this morning that the flooding could last a week. Which means it will get worse. The tides will remain high. It is expected the tides will reach as much as 3 feet above normal.

Flagler was also flooded in its usual places.

When these floodings occur, it is not uncommon to see people kayaking on Duval at Greene. Occasionally, some swimming.

I spent the day home. Tired. Concerned about my heart. Was at my heart doctor’s office at 6:30. Last patient of the day. I was being filled in.

I did not leave Dr. McIvor till 9:15. Not complaining. I was pleased he saw me. Tests being scheduled to determine why the tiredness and occasional gulping for air.

I was showered, shaved, etc. Instead of going directly home, I opted for the Chart Room. One drink and good conversation my aim.

Not to be. The chart Room was packed with tourists. I knew no one. Did not stay. Drove directly home.

Today, one of Key West’s more memorable occasions. Stone crab season opens. Good eating the next several months.

The drums rolled thursday night. Lynda and Bob Frechette returned. Great people! Can’t wait to see them.

Judy Wood. There is still a sadness within me. A Memorial Service has been scheduled for October 20 at Tavern ‘n Town.

Three Trump observations. Each speaks for itself.

Trump claims the allegations against him of sexual misconduct are the result of an international media conspiracy.

It is reported Trump hotel bookings are down 58 percent this year from 2015’s comparable period.

There is a neo-Nazi organization in the U.S. Not uncommon. Most countries have one today. The group considers itself white supremacist as well as neo-Nazi.

The neo-Nazi’s have a website.The Daily Stormer. The group’s news and commentary website. The group likes Trump. A recent comment stated: “Heil Donald Trump – The Ultimate Savior.”

ZIKA. Onward goes the battle to eradicate the mosquitoes causing the problem. We are still fighting the testing of the genetically modified mosquito here in Key Haven.

The State of Florida has gotten involved in the eradication of ZIKA. Not with genetically modified mosquitoes nor Ozitec, however. Sterile ones. The male mosquitoes will be inoculated and made sterile. Inoculated with the bacterium wolbachia pipientis.

Tests have been ordered. In conjunction and with the approval of local mosquito boards. Monroe County’s Mosquito Control Board has agreed to participate. Tests will be conducted in Key Largo and Stock island beginning March 2017.

The people can’t win.

Syracuse/Virginia Tech at 3:45 this afternoon. Virginia Tech a 17 point favorite. The game can be viewed on ESPNU.

Enjoy your day!