PUBLIC URINALS WORLDWIDE

I wrote 3 days ago that Paris and Berlin were into public urinals. Open street public urinals. Paris for men. Berlin co-ed. Berlin’s uniqueness that women would be required to pee standing up.

Yesterday, I mentioned that CNN had picked up on the Paris public urinals and titled their news report Qui Qui. An excellent take on a French word.

This morning, I woke to an e-mail from Paul Harding. Paul and Ron are Blue Macaw friends who are on a European trek. They are following my blog while away.

Paul and Ron were in Sitges, Spain yesterday. Paul wrote that outdoor public urinals for men were common place in Sitges. Even sent me a photo of one next to a park bench.

Steges is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Commonly referred to as the St. Tropez of Spain. Property prices approaching those of the most expensive European cities.

Paris, Berlin, Steges. Anywhere else? Yes. The Netherlands, UK, Philippines, Sweden, India and Portugal.

We never knew.

The public urinals primarily for men. Seems they have a habit of peeing in the street. Could not understand why. Some communities install the urinals outside near bars. Seems men have a need to go when they leave, having forgotten to unload before leaving.

Co-ed public urinals where ever situated had a common denominator. Women standing while peeing.

What is the world coming to?

Last night enjoyable.

Made a sick call first. To Donna and Terri’s. Bear was neutered Wednesday.

Poor Bear! Fortunately, doped up. I walked in to find Bear lying down and Donna holding a bag of ice to the area where his prized male possessions formerly existed.

The three of us then walked across the street to Blue Macaw. Terri was to sing with Larry Baeder. The combination was terrific.

Terri and Larry are performing at Hard Rock Cafe’s Sunday brunch this morning from 10-12.

Spent a lot of time at the Blue Macaw. Chatted with Mary quite a while. An intelligent woman. A tour guide at The Little White House, an economist by education.

John showed up. His night off from the Chart Room. Joe and Andrea Phillips at the bar, also.

I woke as the sun was coming up this morning. I was downstairs making tea. Looked outside the glass doors to the walled in area in the back of the house. The white concrete walls, the brick floor and blue pool were all pink. Looked up to the sky, white clouds covered in pink.

Reminded me of an old saying. Suggesting rain heavy at some point today.

The dity most of us learned when young…..Red sky at night, / sailor’s delight. / Red sky at morning, /  sailors take warning.

Seems Jesus first memorialized the saying. Matthew 16:2B-3 wherein Jesus says, “When it is evening, you say, it will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.”

Even Shakespeare got into the act. In Venus and Adonis, he wrote, “Like a red morn that ever yet betokened, / Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field, / Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds, / Gusts and foul flows to herdsmen and to herds.”

Trump tells us Putin is our friend. Friends don’t screw each other. Putin periodically does something adverse to the U.S. Trump turns the other cheek.

The tariff war between China and the U.S. is initially hurting China more than the U.S. Soybeans an issue. China uses tons of soybeans. The U.S. exports more soybeans to China than any other country. A massive soybean shortage would lead to political and social upheavals across China.

Putin has extended a helping hand to China. He has offered China the use of 2.5 million acres of arable Russian land. To grow soybeans to meet the large scale demand for the product.

I wrote and spoke recently what I perceive as Netanyahu’s development into an authoritarian figure. He and Trump birds of a feather.

Netanyahu has been leading Israel into wars in different places. He continues to wage war on Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation.

The U.N. says enough. Stop!

U.N. Secretary  General Antonio Guterres issued a report Friday recommending U.N. deployment of military and/or civilian persons to protect the Palestinian civilians.

Security Council approval is required. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley says the U.S. will veto any such plan.

There was time the world would expect such vetoes from Russia. Now the U.S. is acquiring the tinge of the bad guy by vetoing measures that make sense.

Not sense to Trump, however. He and Netanyahu are buddies. Both freely elected. Now authoritarian. Reaching for the next level of despotism. Dictatorship of some sort.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HEARTLESS

Normally, I begin with Key West activities and matters of interest. Then move on to political observations, etc.

This morning a couple of things are sufficiently bothering me that I am opening with them. Key West matters follow.

The law is the law. Sounds absolute. It is and is not. There are exceptions to every law. I know. I practiced law for 46 years.

A present day example involves blacks killed by police officers. In most instances appears to be murder. However indictment of police officers extremely rare. There is an exception to a murder charge where the police officer is the perpetrator. If the police officer believes he is in danger of death, he can shot  and kill with no legal liability.

A national disgrace occurred yesterday morning at the Orlando Airport. Alejandra Juarez was deported to Mexico. Alejandra is 39. Illegally entered the U.S. 20 years ago. Married Temo. Temo became a naturalized citizen before his first deployment to Iraq. He deployed 3 times to Iraq as a Marine.

They have 2 daughters. Pamela 16 and Estela 9.

Alejandra has no criminal record.

She duly reported to immigration each year. Never a problem. Permitted to remain. Till now.

As part of Trump’s zero tolerance program, she was deported. Leaving behind her husband and daughters.

Immigration laws are not absolute. Not all here illegally need be deported. There are exceptions. One is “parole in place.” It is discretionary. Permits the authorities to allow an illegal to remain. It is generally applied where the person is a spouse of one who has served in the military.

Alejandra applied 4 times for the parole in place exception. Four times denied.

Alejandra’s Congressman, together with several other Congresspersons, wrote a letter to the President asking that she be allowed to remain. No response.

Temo wrote a personal letter to the Trump explaining he had fought for his country 3 times in Iraq and asking that his wife be permitted to remain. To no avail.

Temo’s job requires traveling. Sixteen year old Pamela is remaining home to live with her father. Nine year old Estela will soon be following her mother to Mexico, however. She needs a mother’s attention. With Temo’s work schedule, such is not possible.

A shame. The story sick.

The dark side of the immigration crisis.

Trump proclaimed “zero tolerance.” Means to me all illegals return to where ever they came from. Not the case in practice.

Syracuse University on July 24 analyzed deportations under the zero tolerance policy. Concern existed especially because of the number of parents and children being separated.

The government is playing games.

In April, 8,298 illegals were apprehended. Zero tolerance came into being. In May, the  number jumped to 40,338. Thirty two percent of the 40,338 were prosecuted.

Here is where the chicanery comes into play. Prosecutorial discretion applies. The government selects those to be brought before a court and deported. Parents with children were singled out for prosecution. Understand clearly, parents with children to be deported swiftly. Illegals without children generally not referred for prosecution.

My point. The government practiced a policy whereby parents with children were selected for deportation. The administration wanted to show how tough it was and children made no difference.

The Trump administration succeeded. However now selective prosecution rears its head. Similar to no records re the children’s whereabouts. What more will we learn as time goes on?

A blot on the character of the United States. Disgraceful.

Is this who we are? What we have become?

One more story involving immigration.

Two male employees at Arizona Migrant Children Centers have been charged with sexual abuse. The facilities operated by Southwest Key Programs. Southwest Key has received $995 million since 2015 in federal contracts to provide shelter services to children in federal custody.

Two separate facilities involved in the sexual abuse matters.

At one, a male employee was discovered kissing and fondling a 14 year old girl. At another, an HIV positive worker was discovered to have gropped 6 teen age boys and having performed oral sex on 2 others.

Whether Alejandra’s story, zero tolerance pin pointing parents with children, or pedophilia situations being discovered, a new swamp has been created. A more dangerous one. To be drained or permitted to go on?

Last night a change of pace for me. Decided to go down to the waterfront. Schooner Wharf and Waterfront Brewery.

Schooner Wharf always fun. Packed with tourists last night. Spoke with an English couple. Both work with Parliament. First time in Key West.

Walked over to the Waterfront Brewery for a bite to eat. Sat at the bar and watched a replay of yesterday’s PGA tournament. Tiger Woods up there. Could win. I pull for the guy. He has paid his dues for any wrongdoing. He deserves a couple more times in the limelight as a winner.

I eat at the Brewery rarely. When I do, I order fish and chips. The fish outstanding. Large, crispy, and juicy.

Donna and Terri’s tonight for dinner. Donna cooking. She called this morning to ask if I liked scallops. Of course! Whatever she is preparing will include scallops.

Bear is 8 months old. In 10 days, he is scheduled to be neutered. Disgusting!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

WILKES-BARRE UNMENTIONABLES

Trump did another rally last night. In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Before rigid loyal supporters.

The media last night and this morning covered his rantings. The usual. In addition to media reports, I watched his entire talk during the late night when rerun on the internet.

Three important things omitted from the media coverage. The three items stuck out like a sore thumb when I watched Trump’s delivery in its entirety. Each cause for concern.

One had to do with children. Trump has been getting heaped upon for his separation policy re immigrants and their children. Last night, I saw a first. I suspect to portray to the nation Trump’s concern for children and their support of him.

In the group sitting immediately behind Trump as he talked were kids. Many. Interspersed throughout. Obviously there. Some sitting quietly, others waving signs. The cameras zeroing in on them.

A phony demonstration. However, one which puts the fear of God in me. Trump is authoritarian. Would like to be President forever. A dictator. Recall the Hitler Youth. Hitler started the organization in 1926. It grew more rapidly beginning in the mid 1930’s. Existed till 1945.

Is this a beginning? Is this part of an overall plan to get ’em while they’re young?

Sounds crazy. However with Trump, you never know.

The second item that struck me was his reference to NATO and his belief it only exists to protect Europe. A like…..who needs it thing. The suggestion being we are going to get out of NATO, European wars not our concern.

Reminded me of America First and the tenor of some in the late 1930’s in the U.S. The desire by many to have the U.S. stay out of European alliances and wars. The further desire the U.S. should remain an isolationist nation.

My sense of Trump was that he was telling us the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would protect us. The same crazy talk pre World War II.

The oceans are meaningless protectors today. Kim and North Korea the most recent example. Our military experts advise North Korea has or soon will have missiles with nuclear warheads that can reach the U.S.

Russian submarines carrying missiles with nuclear warheads a similar problem. China has developed the capacity to fire missiles capable of reaching U.S. shores from the new islands it has created in Asian waters.

The third item involved Trump’s threat to shutdown the government if he does not get his wall funding. The question he raised was whether to shutdown before or after the midterms.

He bragged he was not afraid of politics. He might shutdown before.

He mentioned Russ Limbaugh and Sean Hannity supporting him in this regard.

God help us!

Last night, a Blue Macaw evening for me. Diane Millikan my guest. Diane helps me occasionally with research. She is a terrific researcher.

We were joined by Donna and Terri. They brought Elle, short for Eleanor. I never met Elle before. A lovely 37 year old from Argentina. Has been in Key West 10 years. Worked several of those years at Burrito with my friend Grant. Now works at the new sandwich shop in the small shopping center at the corner of Duval and Truman.

Different strokes for different folks. Each country has its own ways. Elle had long armpit hair. Uncovered and obvious. We discussed it. Her custom. The fashion in Argentina.

A little history. On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus departed from Palos, Spain with the Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina. Nine weeks later on October 12, he and the ships would land in the Bahamas. Columbus thought China. Though unaware and more importantly, he had discovered the New World.

A new study supportive of those who drink alcohol. In moderation, of course. The study claims people who do not drink any alcohol are more likely to develop dementia by early old age. Teetotaling not recommended for the middle aged.

Moderation. What is moderation? One and a half bottles of wine per week.

That’s all? Fortunately, I do not drink wine.

Enjoy your day!

 

NORWAY……HEALTHCARE AND COLLEGE EDUCATION FREE

Heard from Jean Thornton yesterday. Key West’s Golden Girl was in Bergen, Norway. She and Joe had just finished lunch. Jean, soup and a beer. Joe, fish and chips and a beer. Cost, $75.

My first impression, WOW! Lord, save me from Norway!

The WOW understandable. On the other hand, in spite of the cost of the lunch, Norway may not be a bad place to live.

Healthcare is free. A public education through college is free. The country has a comprehensive social security system.

Norway is considered the star of 21st century socialism.

It has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Forty six weeks paid parental leave. An average hourly wage among the highest in the world. An average hourly productivity level also among the highest in the world.

Norway is the largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East. It has the fourth highest per capita income in the world. The second wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation.

On top of it all, a low crime rate. No need to steal where the government in one fashion or another takes care of its own.

There is also a negative side. Not sure if negative is the correct word. Norway’s cost of living (excluding housing) is 52 percent higher than in the United States. Probably the reason Jean and Joe had to pay $75 for lunch.

Watched Trump speak to the NRA convention in Dallas yesterday afternoon. His cry…..Elect Republicans to save gun rights!

The man respectfully is a whore. I recall how several months ago he sat in the White House and told students, teachers and parents following the 17 Florida high school shooting deaths that no one should be afraid of the NRA. He was not, suggesting he was finally prepared to stand up to the NRA.

He made clear yesterday before the NRA that his words in the White House were for show. Yesterday he said, ” We will never give up our freedom. We will live free and we will die free.”

He was Teddy Roosevelt and the audience was ready to follow him up the hill.

The Chart Room again last night. Spent considerable time chatting with John and David.

Stopped at Five Guys on the way home. They have cheeseburgers wrapped in lettuce. Perfect for my diet. Enjoyed two.

Big day today! The Kentucky Derby!

I have been privileged to attend many major sporting events. Never a Kentucky Derby, however. Doubt I will in the future. Can’t do everything.

Rain predicted for this afternoon. The track may be a bit muddy. A horse called Justify the favorite. I do not follow the horses so I know nothing about him.

I have three places to watch the race. Don’s Place, the Chart Room, and Bob and Donna’s. Don’s Place always fun. Never watched the race at the Chart Room. Bob and Donna’s sure to be a great house party.

Recently, I have been referring to Netanyahu and Trump as birds of a feather. They are. Especially in the area of lying. Truth means nothing to them.

Netanyahu has been on a kick re Iran for a year. Especially the past week. He did a drama made for TV. Charts, diagrams, etc. Some even in color.

All to provide Iran nuclear information. Poorly stated. Actually, Iran nuclear disinformation. Turns out much of the material he relied upon was old and known. That not old, he fabricated. Significantly.

Netanyahu and Trump want war with Iran. Trump could get it now that he has Bolan and Pompeo as aides.

If a war should erupt with any country, it will be nuclear. Trump, his staff and family will be safely beneath some mountain in the West. While you and I will be scurrying to find a table to hide under.

Another problem seems to be overwhelming us. Lying is becoming acceptable. We don’t get upset when a political leader lies today. We have come to expect and accept lying. The kind Trump engages in.

A study suggest Trump lies 6.5 times a day and has lied more that 3,000 times since taking office.

Enjoy your day!

I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK

Tombstones tell wonderful stories. History imprinted forever. Especially on Key West head stones.

The one that has always intrigued me, interested me the most, says…..I Told You I Was Sick.

This saturday, the Key West Cemetery is providing 3 guided tours. Ninety minutes each. Do yourself a favor, go. Reservations required.

Spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon working on Growing Up Italian.

Last night, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Friends galore.

Don and Chris in from Syracuse. They are getting married saturday at the Hyatt. Celebration time! I am invited. I am honored. Only 45 people. Three from Korea. His business partners.

Chris radiant. Always. This time a little more so.

Tom and Fran Dixon in from Buffalo. Only for 3 days. Leave wednesday morning.

Fran mothers me. Takes good care of me. Normally, she brings frozen containers of sauce with meatballs, sausage and pork. This time not frozen. Three canning jars full. No meatballs. She is aware I am on Atkins and did not want to submit me to bread crumbs.

The two couples Syracuse fans. We text each other during games. The object of our conversations last night Syracuse’s success thus far in the NCAA tournament. Exciting!

Lovely Liz at the bar. Met a family from somewhere. Two were Hamilton College grads. Actually, one Hamilton and one Kirkland. Kirkland the ladies part.

Nice people. A couple of interesting Hamilton exchanges.

Key West has been knocked down, destroyed, etc. many times over the years. Hurricanes a problem. In the early years, fires. Building codes either non existent or not as good as today.

On this day in 1923, an unoccupied cigar factory on the corner of White and Newton burned down. The fire spread. Forty three homes were destroyed. Forty families left homeless.

Show of shows tonight! My podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A quick and exciting half hour. Join me as I share my opinionated thoughts. About everything from a Key West problem to our national problem Donald Trump. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

I consider New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Presidential timber. I am impressed how he has run New York State. Free tuition at 4 year State colleges, legalized same sex marriage, enacted gun control legislation. He balanced the budget on time during his first year for the first time in many years. Every area of the State has experienced significant development.

A negative is one of his aides was recently convicted of taking a $300,000 kickback. Cuomo was not involved.

It was announced this week Cuomo has primary opposition in his race for reelection.

Recall the movie Sex and the City. One of the four ladies was Cynthia Nixon. She is running a primary against Cuomo. One of her platform items corruption in his administration. I question the validity of the charge as it may personally involves him in any respect.

She has a list of other items. All sound good. Nixon has been active in New York City politics for years. Her other items appear to be New York City needs.

Not enough. There is upstate New York, also. The forgotten relative. Most Governors pay little attention to upstate New York. Cuomo has not. He is responsible for massive development upstate.

If Nixon wishes to succeed, she will have to come out with a for real program for the upstaters.

Trump on a high. Reminds me of a dog after he has done his business. Joyfully bounds around.

Why? He fired Andrew McCabe. News reports suggest he has become emboldened as a result. Accomplished a big thing from his perspective. Can do anything. Knows how to do everything. Does not need the advice of others.

His legal team a spot where he is spreading his wings. Apparently paying less attention to them. He has brought on another attorney. Joseph diGenova.

diGenova many years ago a U.S. Attorney. Today, a Washington attorney who frequently appears on FOX. He has been a part of the FOX group going back 20 or more years.

As does Trump, knows everything. Labeled Comey the “dirtiest cop in America.” Claims Comey destroyed the FBI’s reputation. Believes the Justice Department and Mueller are trying to frame Trump.

Washington attorneys describe him as a “wild card.” A qualification to represent Trump. They are birds of a feather.

Trump has brought  diGenova on board I assume based on diGenova’s appearances and statements made on FOX. Such do not qualify diGenova as the man for Trump. He does not need a TV star. He requires the very best attorney qualified in the areas Mueller is investigating.

My other area of concern is that Trump is apparently now running the legal show. He is not aware of one of the first axioms learned in law school: A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. I adjust it a bit to read…..A person who represents himself is a fool.

A person under investigation lives or dies by his attorney’s judgments, not his own.

Enjoy your day!

DUELING BARTENDERS THE BEST LAST NIGHT

NO BLOG TOMORROW. I have an early morning physical scheduled.

Some evenings are better than others. Last night was the case. Dueling Bartenders outstanding. Tom Luna, Rick Dery, and this year’s Fantasy Fest Queen at their best.

Catherine with me. Many friends. Liz back from a Tampa Hospital. Looking better than ever! Josefina with her. Also her friend George who is visiting. A former law school Dean as was Liz. June. Joe Lyles.

Dined at the bar at Antonia’s. Lamb chops. Delicious!

Diet stuck at 20 pounds (my scale). Probably 24 on heart doctor’s. I see my internist for a physical in the morning. He will not believe the loss.

Two biggies tonight.

Syracuse/Wake Forest at 7. The first round of the ACC Tournament. Being played at  Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. Syracuse should win. Has to win tonight and two more games in the tournament to have a shot at a NCAA Tournament bid.

I can watch the game at 7. When finished at 9, I shall hurry to my office to do my 9 o’clock scheduled podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Everything on the agenda for discussion. Join me for a quick moving half hour of what I think about this and that. You may not agree. Guaranteed you will find it interesting, however. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Key West was the home of cigar making for more than 50 years. Nearness to Cuba the reason. Workers immigrating from Cuba to work in Key West cigar factories. Cuban tobacco considered the best in the world easily available from Havana.

Cigar making in Key West hit its zenith in 1890. Over 100 million cigars made.

There is a small cigar park behind the First State Bank Building on Simonton. Properly called Gato Park. E. H. Gato was the owner of one of the largest cigar making operations in Key West.

A cigar has stood in Gato Park for years. It needed repair. Work done. The reconstructed cigar will be unveiled at a ceremony wednesday night beginning at 5 and running to 8. Cigars, rum, and Cuban dancing on the agenda in addition to the unveiling.

The newly restored cigar sculpture is purported to be the world’s largest.

Another party friday evening. This one bigger. Going to be huge. Kate Miano’s campaign kickoff event. Kate is running for Mayor.

Six friday evening at the Gardens. Guaranteed fun.

I have been avoiding this issue. However it is time to comment. Perhaps it will generate discussion and responsive comments.

Religion is dying. No question about it. It has been gradually dying for more than 50 years. Churches, synagogues, etc. closing. Diminishing attendees.

Houses of worship today the home of the elderly. Nostalgic in their beliefs. The young at the other end of the spectrum don’t go to a church of any kind. Some do not believe. Others consider religion not relevant. More and more persons becoming atheists.

Christianity is at its root idolatry. People turn from their idols when it stops raining.

Will the drift from God and religion be cyclical? I don’t know. It should be. Most things are. Perhaps at some point man will rediscover his need for an Almighty.

I close with Three Trump items.

Trump irrationally burst out his tariff program thursday. A nonsensical position born of ignorance.

Many claim a tariff war will cost the U.S. jobs. One example has already surfaced.

Sweden’s Electrolux announced in January it was doing an expansion to its Springfield, Tennessee plant. Adding on 400,000 square feet. Cost $250 million. Work to begin in the Fall.

Following Trump’s erratic tariff announcement thursday, Electrolux announced it was putting the expansion on hold. It will not proceed till it knows the figures the Trump plan will kick out and whether it is financially feasible to proceed. Electrolux believes Trump’s decision will give an economic advantage to foreign manufacturers.

Jobs gone! No construction workers! No new employees working in the added 400,00 square feet.

The way to bring jobs back to America, Mr. President!

Electrolux likes doing business in Tennessee. It has another plant in Anderson which makes Frigidaire Freezers. Electrolux began a $200,000 million expansion of the Anderson plant one year ago. The expansion will continue as the addition is near completion.

Birds of a feather flock together. Netanyahu was in Washington yesterday visiting with Trump. Both are under investigation. We know of Trump’s problems. Netanyahu’s involve corruption, bribery, and fraud.

As Trump leads us down roads that scare me, Netanyahu is no different. He has changed Israel. In most instances, Israel is no longer the victim. It is the perpetrator.

The U.S. will be constructing a new building to serve as the new embassy in Jerusalem. It is a temporary facility. Intended to be replaced some time in the future with one containing all the knobs and fancy features.

The budget for the temporary/new embassy was submitted to Trump. One million dollars. Trump said too much. He shaved it down to $250,000.

I question how safe our embassy persons will be in the $250,000 edifice. Will sufficient safeguards exist? Will all survive an attack?

Penny pinching at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

Enjoy your day!

MARIA, MARIA, MARIA…..MAY MEET A GIRL NAMED MARIA…..THE NAME MAY NEVER BE THE SAME

The most beautiful sound I ever heard: Maria, Maria, Maria…..I’ve just met a girl named Maria /And suddenly that name / Will never be the same…..Maria!

The West Side Story’s music happy. Irma has not been. Now comes Maria. The song resonates. However, Maria may make us unhappy. As unhappy as Irma.

Maria on her way. A category 3 at the moment. On a path similar to Irma. Could come right over the Keys and Florida. Maybe not. Maria has a slight bend to the east.

Jose in between. The male meaningless. Expected to downgrade to a tropical storm. If it landfalls, probably the northeast coast of the United States.

For some, Keys’ living is a dream. Paradise. The reason they located here. Irma destroyed that dream for many. The Keys will recover. The time in between will be difficult.

As Irma approached, the issue for many was whether to stay. Significantly more left than stayed.

A woman who stayed regrets her decision. To those returning at this time, she suggests they do not: “To paraphrase Sheriff Ramsey, bring enough resources…..to last a week. If you can’t do that, then get back in your car and get the hell out. It’s not fun. We have no power. It’s hot. We’re rationing ice, and the water is brown out of the tap…..We wouldn’t stay again.”

My friend called me again this morning. Continues to be impressed with 801 and Bourbon Street. Air conditioning, ice and free food. Tells me the same person owns both establishments.

He recommended I not return yet. Very little power, no water, little gasoline, sewer problems continue, the smell/stench abominable, air thick with humidity, ATM machines covered, etc.

He told me I misspoke in yesterday’s blog re roadside debris. Could be seen all the way to Cudjoe Key, not Islamorada. From Cudjoe to Key West, merely bent trees.

US 1 opened for residents and business people all the way to Key West 7 this morning. Traffic heavy. Flat tires frequent.

US 1 has only one checkpoint. At Florida City.

Side roads apparently a problem. There are 21 side road checkpoints between Marathon and Key West due to unsafe conditions.

Someone reported on Facebook this morning 2 accidents already on US 1. One of the accidents a head on. One person dead. I have not been able to verify this information.

My admonition. Drive carefully. Do not speed. An extra half hour in getting to Key West will make no difference.

A personal calamity. Pisses me off.

I have a debit card with Bank of America. About four days before I left Key West to avoid Irma, I received a letter from Bank of America advising some one got into a series of card numbers. They were issuing new cards and I should receive one by the 14th. To use it when received. Ok to use old card in the meantime.

Hurrying to leave Key West, I gave the card no thought. Know I did not receive the new card as of the date I left.

Took Jean and Joe and my fellow evacuees to dinner last night. First time I have trued to use the card since 9/3. Card no good. The recorded wording something to the effect my number not registered with them. I tried every which way to get a human to speak with. No luck.

I had other cards to pay for the dinner.

Figured I would run over to a Bank of America tomorrow morning to get a temporary card. No Bank of Americas in Alabama.

I’m doing good!

I cannot talk to a human bank person till Monday morning during bank working hours on the phone.

I have a feeling I will be returning to Key West at some point this week without the card.

Suppose I needed the card? Suppose it was the only card I had? Suppose I was facing a 1,000 mile drive back to Key West without a card for gas and a motel one night?

In view of Irma, someone at the bank end should have made the decision to keep the old cards good at least till the end of the month. It had to be obvious not all would have received the new card before escaping Irma.

Robert and Ally’s dog Jake a Jack Terrier mix. Looks and acts like a Jack Terrier. Took a while, but we finally bonded.

Joanna is an evacuee staying with the Thornton’s, also. Johanna is a manager at the Audubon House. She has a Jack Terrier mix. Ralphie. Yesterday, I was sitting in a chair watching television and he jumped on my lap. Stayed. I rubbed his head, back and tummy of course.

Ralphie and I are bonded. He follows me around. Makes me play with him.

I live and learn. Teddy Roosevelt was fond of Jack Terriers. The White House had a rat problem. Jack Terriers are the natural enemy of rats. Roosevelt had several brought into the White House to live. It was the end of the rat problem.

Enjoy your Sunday!

IRMA AN EXPERIENCE

Irma an experience! No question about it!

Not just the hurricane itself. The peripheral, the tangents. The whole picture.

Dinner the big event of the day for we evacuees at the Thornton home in Birmingham. A lengthy telephone call from a Key West friend this morning and other information I have obtained re Irma.

There is another world besides Irma. Time for me to begin a return to it. Slowly. ergo, I will write about a couple of non Irma items.

The  friend who made it back to Key West telephoned this morning. Key West not yet ready for people to return. Not unless they can do with out electric power, sewers, food, and gasoline. Which means as a practical matter, no air conditioning, toilet flushing, eating, cars to drive, and working generators.

I start with this morning’s phone call.

He and a lady friend ran off to Boston. Made their reservations to return to Fort Lauderdale. Plane reservations honored. $99 deal when made. Airline honored the price, also.

They had a hotel reservation in Lauderdale made a week ago. Honored, no gouging.

People trying to return to the Keys who do not have reservations have difficulty getting a room. The hotel permitted them to sleep in their cars in the hotel garage.

My friend rented a car to drive to Key West. No gouging here either.

Florida City the re-entry point. They attempted re-entry yesterday. His lady friend is a nurse and medical emergency trained. She has an identification card to that effect. She was going down to help. She was a go. My friend had nothing.They let him through because he was driving her.

The roads clear and repaired all the way to Key West. From Florida City to Islamorada, debris stacked on side of road and in the center. Anything that could float or be blown. More refrigerators than anything else. Many boats, also.

From Islamorada to Key West, no debris visible anywhere. The trees were bent from the wind. Items did not fly around. Wind significantly less than elsewhere. A reason why Key West missed the brunt of the storm. Fifteen miles closer and Key West would have been like Cudjoe Key and Big Pine.

In Key West itself, little property damage. Many trees down, however.

My friend owns a home in Key West. Very minimal damage to the outside of his home. None inside, except the house smelled big time. He opened the windows to get the smell out. His pool water was black. Trees in the pool.

Adding to the smell was the fact he did not clean out the refrigerator and freezer before he left.

Few gas stations open. In and on the way to Key West. In Key West, certain gas stations were pumping gasoline from the gas trucks. Not going through the pump.

The two businesses who appeared prepared for Irma were the primary gay bars. Bourbon Street and 801.

He enjoyed the evening with a friend at Bourbon Street. They had air conditioning, alcohol, food and ice. The air probably provided by large generators. The ice delivered.

He told me a large truck showed up in front of Bourbon Street. Dumped bags of ice at the front door. Then went across the street to 801 and did the same thing.

Curfew is from dusk to dawn. Bourbon Street locked its doors at dusk and was not bothered by the authorities.

End of the friend report.

Since the end of the call, I have learned other things which change or may change certain portions of my friend’s report. His report through last night. What follows from this morning.

Two people have died and 10 injured as a result of Irma in Key West.

Gasoline. Continues to be scarce.

Sewer treatment facility functioning. Some house toilets backing up, however. Those that have water or a bucket of water are able to flush toilets. Water still a problem.

Power. Remains a problem. From the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, only 7 percent have electric power. The upper Keys, 30 percent. The power people are giving special attention to Cudjoe and Big Pine which took the worst beating. Overall, there are 300 downed polls which take time to fix.

Airport. Still closed to commercial and general aviation flights. Expected to reopen tuesday for all flights.

Food. Old Publix opened for a few hours yesterday. Other Publix and Winn-Dixie in Key West remain closed. Publix in Big Pine opened only a few hours yesterday.

Evacuees. People like me. Though what I report is not how I feel. there is a rising tension being reported. Evacuees want to return to their Key West homes. In spite of the negatives I have reported. Believe officials too cautious. I do not want to get on the road till I have motel reservations where needed, know I can get gas all the way back. And when I get back, I have power, air conditiong, gasoline, food, etc.

Return date. Just heard US 1 to Key West opens tomorrow. People are being permitted to return even though things still not as they should be.

Some other bits of information.

Key West is located in Monroe County. Monroe County has one of the most stringent building codes in the United States.

Florida’s citrus industry took a beating. The loss statewide is estimated at 50-75 percent.

Re-entry stickers are being forged.

A rumor has spread that a truck was found in the Keys full of dead bodies. Not true.

Now to last night.

Dinner at the Thornton’s again. Two guests. Dan and Paula. Not related or connected in any fashion. Both Birmingham residents.

Dan an IT person for a hospital conglomerate that has hospitals from Birmingham south to Broward County. He visits Key West 1-3 times a year. Is a good friend of Jean and Joe.

Dan provided the meal. Bags of Mexican food. The dining room table could not hold all the food.

Wine consumption remained consistent. Tequila added. I missed the tequila. I was tired and went to bed early.

Paula joined us. A friend of the Thornton’s. Lovely and charming. Never been to Key West.

Dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant. My treat.

I was going to write of other things. The Irma report took too many words. Already over a thousand. I will save the non Irma news for another time.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I GET MY FIRST SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK TOMORROW

I have heard the term southern hospitality my whole life. It is true! This past week proof.

Jean and Joe the most hospitable without question. Opened their home, refrigerator, etc. to us. Jean just took my dirty clothes and threw them in the washer.

They can never be repaid. Nor do they expect it. They will be remembered, however.

Then there are Jean’s neighbors. Three full dinner meals prepared. Desserts and breakfast food. Even a few bottles of booze and wine.

All because they were friends of Jean and Joe and felt sorry for us.

Last night’s benefactor was Cindy. A cheerful woman. Widowed some 40 years. Prepared Greek chicken and accompanying dishes. Outstanding!

Cindy a die hard Democrat. Hard to find in this Republican state. Very outspoken in her opposition to Trump and Republicans. Loved her!

Cindy was all excited. She told us that tomorrow (today) she would receive her first Social Security check. An event! I recall when I received my first. A return on something you paid for and had to wait a long time to receive.

We ran out of wine at dinner. Eight bottles.

This hurricane evacuation thing is emotional. Very much so. All of us are just coming down. The knowledge Irma did not hit Key West as hard as expected, the knowledge that our homes sustained little damage helps.

Peter Petro called me last night. We now have cell phone service. He is the realtor who takes care of my home. I lost 3 trees. Two in front and one in the back. A dented rain gutter. No water damage. House stinks because I left food in the freezer and refrigerator.

Talked with Anna this morning. The roads in Key West itself are open. She is going to the house today to clean out the freezer and refrigerator.

Spoke with Lisa last night. Still in Jupiter. Their home looks ok. From the air. Roof still on.

The family’s first report was from two of Ally’s girl friends. Note Ally and the girl friends are in the seventh grade and 12 years old. The two young ladies walked over to Ally’s house, checked things out and reported to Ally everything looked ok.

There is humor in tragedy.

Mark Watson reported on Facebook this morning that “I got to sleep butt ass naked in a/c…..I lived like a free man!”

Key West has a For Sale column that runs daily on Facebook. free. Someone from Ramrod Key advertised yesterday…..House for sale free. A picture accompanied the ad. The home totally destroyed. Flat on the ground.

Tragedy without humor, also.

Carol Schreck lives on a 53′ Defever trawler docked at the Key West Yacht Club. The vessel sunk in its slip. Even though Carol and friends securely tied it to posts, etc.

Carol had planned to stay. Her boat strong and properly secured. Fortunate she did not.

The boat began jumping around when Irma hit. A few men from the Yacht Club jumped in the water to further secure it. Could not. The water too rough. Dangerous. Had to get out.

The Garrison Bight Pier is roughly a quarter a mile away across the inlet. Carole’s trawler has large pieces of concrete jetty material attached or in the trawler which it is assumed came from the Garrison Bight job.

Hers was the only boat to sink at the Yacht Club.

I have a negative comment to retract.

I mentioned a few days ago that people were lighting candles at the St. Mary of the Sea outdoor Grotto. Tradition tells us praying and lighting candles at the Grotto will prevent significant storm damage to Key West.

Many prayed once again. I questioned and doubted.

I have read several reports today where persons attribute the lack of bad damage to Key West to the candle lighting and praying.

Maybe it works. Real devastation was only 15 and 25 miles away in Cudjoe and Big Pine

I plan on visiting the Grotto, lighting a candle and saying a prayer of thanks when I return.

I suspect I will not be leaving till monday. Perhaps later.

Power presently limited to 16 percent of Key West. Water limited to 4 hours a day. Must be boiled. Medical services available on a very limited basis at the Community College. Hospital still closed. Search and rescue on Cudjoe Key and Big Pine still ongoing. Only food is that government is bringing in. Stores still closed. a few gas stations open. Curfew dusk to dawn continues. Call service spotty. AT&T and Verizon up and running.

Perhaps the worst problem from a practical perspective is the stink. Got a call this morning. Told don’t hurry home. Key West stinks! Seaweed, fish, garbage and trash all over. Waste Management not able to clean yet.

Cathy Hakola wrote me yesterday. Facebook, I believe. Told an interesting story. I cannot find it this morning to recite in detail and correctness as received.

Her story has to do with ghosts. Key West has several ghost stories. Most probably false. I suspect a couple true.

One of the true ones involves the Gato House which once was a hospital. Now an apartment house.

Cathy a nurse. A nurse who also rented an apartment in the Gato House after the hospital closed.

History tells us the hospital was run by a very dedicated nurse. Well respected by all.

The claim is her ghost still resides in the Gato House.

Cathy was sick. She woke in the middle of the night to discover someone holding her hand and rubbing her arm. A woman. The ghost.

This went on for several minutes. Cathy says she was not afraid. Found the episode comforting. Woke the next morning much better.

Enjoy your day!

BELIEVE

God is in His Heaven, all is right with the world.

The Lord knows everything, even before it happens.

He is all merciful.

So why do disasters like Harvey and Irma occur? Wars? Genocides? I could go on.

I believe. Though no longer a Church goer. Speak directly to Him. Generally in times of adversity. Rarely to say thank you when things are good.

People believe in different ways.

Which brings me to the story of Jackie Tee and a silver toe ring.

Jackie’s first trip to Key West was 20 years ago this month. With her husband, 4 1/2 year old son, and sister. Jackie purchased a silver toe ring. She has worn it for 20 years.

A couple of months ago, she noticed the toe ring was starting to split. Irma hit Key West September 10. That same day, the toe ring totally split. Jackie found the same ironic. Perhaps meaningful.

Jackie has a friend who she describes as a “new age spiritual.” Her friend told her to have the ring repaired: Repair the ring, repair the island. The two went together from the friend’s perspective.

Jackie is having the toe ring repaired.

As a side note, Jackie has returned to Key West almost annually the past 20 years. She says the island draws her. It does. Many persons.

Some Key West information.

Wendy’s hit hard by the surge. Seven to 10 days before lower Keys residents can return. No power, water, sewer, limited food.

US 1 bridges all ok. Side road bridges not yet tested. Road debris being removed.

Five food drop sites have been established. Food and water was to be available. People went. Only two had food. All 5, no water. People upset. The first rumblings.

Cell phone service spotty. Persons outside the Keys do not seem to understand. Many complaining why relatives and friends in and from the lower Keys do not call them.

Cell phone service went down 3 hours after Irma hit. I read a report which described the event…..Everything went eerily silent.

Social media has been the savior. I now understand why Trump went to it during the campaign and now as President. Facebook especially helpful.

Hardest hit were Big Pine and Cudjoe Key.

No casualties reported through yesterday.

Re-entry for residents and business owners to MM 73 permitted. Islamorada.

Dusk to dawn curfew remains in place.

A few gas stations beginning to open in the upper Keys.

I received a text yesterday from Shavon White. She is a producer at FOX New York City. She required information about Key West, identification of some who stayed, how to make contact, etc.

Trump arrives today to inspect Irma damage. A proper thing for a President to do. My question is why he is not visiting the Keys. Air Force One could easily land at the Naval Base at Boca Chica. A few short miles from Key West in one direction and Big Pine and Cudjoe Key in the other.

We in the Keys are people too! Could use the lift a Presidential visit brings.

Trump is visiting with EPA head Pruitt. There is an irony to the visit. Both have been working hard to cut disaster relief programs from the federal budget.

They arrive today to take bows for doing a great job in the recovery. First Texas, now Florida. When the budget comes up, they will continue to oppose federally funded disaster relief.

Now a Trump/Sessions scenario of which most are unaware.

Recall the federal program that provided surplus military equipment to police organizations. Police organizations included university police/campus police. What is known as Program 1033.

The program was stopped two years ago by Obama.

Trump signed an Executive Order permitting a resurgence of the program. Supported of course by Sessions. Intent being that law and order prevail on college campuses where students have recently become exceptionally rowdy with demonstrations.

The program is delivering to college campuses grenade launchers, armored trucks, pistols, assault rifles, etc.

The militarization of college campuses! Something like 117 already receiving various items.

I find it difficult to comprehend why military equipment is required to put down college demonstrations. The student will view it as police state activity.

I read somewhere that most students graduate with a debt of $37,000. That much money and they have to oppose heavily armed campus police!

Most campus police today are privatized. Bothers me. They lack oversight. Quick trigger fingers in the making.

Just received a call from Guy de Boer. KONK Life publisher. He was in Homestead,. Leaving the Keys!  Homestead has cell phone capability. Guy was calling friends to see if ok, where they were, etc.

He is leaving because he needs cell phone capability to run his newspaper. He will be doing it out of Miami for a few days.

Enjoy your day!