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!

 

ANOTHER WOODSTOCK?

Several day long festivals, weekend festivals, music festivals, etc. Key West has them all!

Are we reaching the point of too many? Especially as to quality?

The amphitheater opens in February. A 4 day music fest scheduled. Mile Zero Fest. Within a week, another music festival. At Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Mile O Fest Key West. A 3 day event.

Who is scheduling these “fests?” Does the City have professional assistance. I doubt it.

My fear is that at least one of the events is going to get out of hand. The one at Fort Zachary Taylor. Sounds like a Woodstock in the making. Mud, drugs, nudity, etc.

Dr. Mc Ivor’s office yesterday. My heart doctor. The best.

I had  been there 9 days earlier. Had water problems. Gained 17 pounds in two weeks. Blood pressure on the top side 187. Ankles swollen. Totally exhausted.

Put me on water pills. Every day till further notice.

I returned yesterday after 9 days on water pills. Weight down 12 pounds. Blood pressure 112/72. Energized.

Amazing!

Wish I knew what caused the water increase. I worry about these things.

Took a slew of blood work. Didn’t think I would have enough blood left to make it home.

Chart Room last night. Tom and Fran Dixon in from Buffalo. As usual, we had a wonderful time! Good people. Fran brought me four containers of sauce and meat. Plus a candy involving small pretzels, chocolate and and M&Ms on top..

Tom and Fran were tired. Returned to Ocean Key House and bed. I was hungry. Decided to stop at Tavern ‘n Town on the way home for the 9-11 Happy Hour.

The frozen sauce in a plastic bag on the front seat with me. Fell over as I made a turn. Top came off one container. Sauce still hard frozen. I could not get the cover back on.

Decided not to take a chance. Went straight home.

My front seat smells of red sauce. Will have to wash it down this morning.

I had nothing that turned me on in  the refrigerator. Took the topless container and poured the frozen rock hard contents into a microwavable bowl. Twenty minutes later, I had chunks of pork floating in a rich sauce.

My late night dinner.

Big afternoon.

Haircut with Lori at noon. Pick up Robert and Ally at 12:30. Lunch and then the new Key West Escape Room at 2:30. Hope the Room is fun. Expensive. $35 for me, $25 each for Robert and Ally.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

DAVID….. A GOOD PERSON

David Wolkowsky is the best of the best. Made his fortune. Returned to his beloved Key west. Spent his years since returning doing everything to help Key West and its people.

David is 96. In fairly decent shape. The one who fights me for the anti-gravity treadmill at physiotherapy.

His generosity significant.

For many years, David has recognized school teachers. Must be some teacher back when influenced his life. The recognition is in the form of money. David presents the Teacher of the Year with $25,000. Several other teachers, $5,000 each.

I attended the award ceremony yesterday at the Key West High School. The ceremony was in the library. I sat in the back so I could take the whole thing in.

David was beaming. He looked 25 years younger than his 96 years. A smile ear to ear.

It occurred to me that David might consider the teachers his grandchildren. Not children because of the years. They were his family.

The teachers respectful and friendly to David.

David, thank you for inviting me.

I was showered, shaved and out. David’s event was concluded just before 4. Where to go? Earlier than I normally am out.

My first stop was Aqua. Thought I would have a drink with Mark at the Back Bar. Learned the outside bar does not open till 5.

Ordered a drink. Drank it slowly. It was going to be a long night.

My cell phone rang. It was Dee. She was in her way into town. She lives on Cudjoe Key. We decided to meet in an hour at Sq. 1.

My evening was fantastic. Fun filled. We drank at Sq. 1 and ate at Outback.

Dee looked terrific. The best I have seen her in years. She has undergone some heavy cancer surgeries the past three years. All took a toll on her. However, she is back again. And, looking better than ever!

Which I told her several times.

Turtle nesting season upon us. Loggerhead turtle nesting. Mama turtle comes onto the beach and buries her eggs. Called nesting. It takes 50-60 days for the eggs to hatch. They hatch at night. The baby turtles then follow the moon light into the ocean.

Dengue fever has infected one person in Key West. The mosquito bite occurred in Key West. The person a visitor. Now home and on the road to recovery.

First dengue fever case reported in Key West since 2010.

The Associated Press recently released a study. From its NORC Center for Public Affairs. One of the findings was that 9 out of 10 Americans lack confidence in the political system. Another, 70 percent are frustrated with this year’s Presidential election.

Nothing we did not know.

China has done it!Discriminated against men. Created a sexism issue affecting men. Certain areas of China have “Female Only” parking spaces. Larger than those for men. The rationale being women have a harder time parking.

China not the first to do this. German began a few years ago. In some German regions, 30 percent of the parking spaces are mandated to be larger and for women only.

Immigrants a problem? Sweden took in 163,000 persons seeking asylum last year. Only 494 found jobs.

I have written and spoken on my blog talk radio show about Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu. He should not have come to Congress last year to speak uninvited by Obama.

Now it is out that he received $80 million last year from the King of Saudi Arabia for his political campaign to continue as Israel’s leader. Most recently, it has been announced Saudi Arabia will build a large embassy facility in Tel Aviv.

I was under the impression Arabs hated Israel and Jews.

Recently, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a critical article regarding Netanyahu. Titled: Destroying Israel From Within.

Enjoy your day!

HEMINGWAY’S SPAIN

It is impossible to think of Key West and not Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway spent ten years in Key West. During that time, he did all the things people do when on the island. Drank, partied and fished. He also completed writing A Farewell To Arms.

Hemingway’s grandson Michael Hemingway was in Valencia, Spain yesterday. He met one of his grandfather’s closest friends, Francisco “Canito” Cana. Cana was a bullfight photographer during his Hemingway days.

Cana shared many stories with Michael. Especially, the “…..feasts and binges.” He told him of Pamplona and the running of the bulls. How he and Hemingway would eat a huge dinner the night before with much wine. The next day, they would watch the running of the bulls. Followed by coffee in the Plaza Castillo.

Cana added that Hemingway loved Spain, their drinking sprees, the wine they guzzled, and the flask of vodka he always carried.

First it was Syracuse, my Syracuse. Today it is Manhattan, my Manhattan. My poor Jaspers!

Not a basketball year for me.

Manhattan lost in the first game of the NCAA tournament. Manhattan had to play its way in. Had they won, the prize was playing Kentucky next.

Manhattan lost to Hampton College 74-64. Surprising since Manhattan was an 8.5 point favorite. Also, Manhattan’s record was 19-13. Whereas, Hampton’s 16-17.

Such is life! There is always next year!

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. A part of Duval Street was closed off. The area jam packed. Most wearing green and drinking glass after glass of green beer. Everyone on a Duval crawl!

An interesting factual correction re  St. Patrick. He did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. Ireland was too cold for snakes. St. Patrick did drive the idol worshiping Druid religion out as part of his Christianizing most of Ireland. Over the years, the Druids being driven out has transformed into the snake story.

Netanyahu won. Surprising. You cannot always trust the polls. Query: How will this affect Iran’s thoughts re a nuclear agreement? Iran may now fear Israel and use that reason for not entering into a deal with the United States. It is assumed Israel has nuclear bombs.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. I spent half the show discussing Tom Cotton. The new kid on the block as I described him. A far right tea party type. Also, a neocon. Backed by big money and powerful people. Beware was my message. The man is being groomed for a Presidential run at some point.

This week’s KONK Life publishes today. My column is the Making of a Star. The Tom Cotton story. Read it. A guaranteed eye opener.

I am sick and tired hearing about Hillary’s e-mails. A red herring going nowhere. When are these idiots going to start discussing things like jobs and income inequality?

Nancy Robinson is a Key West icon. A lady. Known to everyone in Key West. Mother of Martha Robinson.

Nancy has been sick. She is still sick. In and out of the hospital. Now home. Definitely not well. Say a prayer for her.

Enjoy your day!

 

BLOODY SUNDAY

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma march. The day of the first march (March 7) became known as Bloody Sunday. The march is being reenacted today.

We live in strange times. In a land that has become stranger. The civil rights battle was won 40-50 years ago. It’s back. Out of necessity. Whether by reason of hatred or for political purpose, Republicans are making it more difficult for blacks to vote.

The problem could be born of fear. The black/tan community is growing in numbers. In 20-30 years, more than half the population will be tan. Those of color will control. I suspect what is going on today is a last gasp for air for what has been, a last hurrah.

Syracuse, my Syracuse. The season a disaster. The past few days even more woe.

Syracuse played its last game of the season yesterday. The team was decidedly beaten by North Carolina State 71-57. the game was over the first 10 minutes of the second half. North Carolina State made Syracuse look bad in every respect.

I am not knocking the team. I merely make an observation.

Thursday, the NCAA report came out. I spoke of it in depth yesterday. I especially felt bad for Boeheim who I think was very unfairly treated.

Interestingly, Dick Vitale agreed with me in a statement made yesterday. This from a man who over the years rarely commented favorably re Syracuse or Boeheim. Not this time. He stated loud and clear that Boeheim got a raw deal.

Thank you, Dick Vitale.

When Boeheim was introduced before the game, he was “strongly” booed by the North Carolina State fans. Sportsmanship? These young people have yet to learn not to criticize till they have walked in another person’s shoes.

I watched the game from home. Immediately after, Sloan arrived. We spent a couple of hours working on this and that.

Last night was Tavern ‘n Town. My usual Saturday night haunt. Love Bobby Nesbitt!

Immediately upon arriving, I ran into June Hudson. I have been trying to reach her for two weeks. At least two unanswered e-mails out there. Whatever, we are getting together friday night.

June as vivacious and lovely as always. She has been a widow for two years. I admired and respected her husband Bill. A premier Delaware divorce attorney. He had a terrific sense of humor. The two made a great couple. I was lucky to have met and known them for more than 20 years.

Met two interesting people who were sitting next to me at the bar. Bill and Susan from North Carolina. Snowbirds. Own a home in Key West. Summers are spent on the North Carolina shore. They enjoy the best of both worlds. I hope to run into them again.

Let me take you to Israel, Italy, and Japan for a moment.

Netanyahu was well received last week by the Republicans. I thought his visit highly improper and irregular. He was received by Congress as a conquering hero. The same reception or better than MacArthur received.

He is back in Israel. He faces an election next week. The opposition sponsored an anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv. Thirty thousand showed up. Apparently Netanyahu is not as popular at home as he was before our Republican Congress.

Berlusconi back in the news in Italy. Love the man! He is never down and out.

He was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to several years in jail. Italy by law does not incarcerate people over 70 or 72. Instead, they do house arrest. Berlusconi has done house arrest the past few years. His time has ended. He is as free as a bird.

He still faces resolution of charges involving a 17 year old girl.

A European meeting is scheduled soon in Milan. One of Berlusconi’s several homes is in Milan. Putin is expected at the conference. The two men are close friends and will probably spend some time together in serious conversation and partying. I do not use the term loosely. Six months ago when Putin was in Milan, they got together at Berlusconi’s home at 2:30 in the morning and spent a couple of hours together.

Japan. Perhaps we should all move there.

A 117 year old Japanese woman celebrated her birthday yesterday. She is still going strong. Apparently she has a sense of humor. When asked what she thought of her long life, she responded…..It seemed rather short!

Turns out Japan has 58,820 persons alive who are more than 100 years old. Interestingly, 90 percent are women. The 58,000 plus are more than in any other nation.

The water?

Enjoy your Sunday!