MY COUNTRY, ‘TIS OF THEE, SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY…..

My Country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty…..Let freedom ring!

No more. We’re losing it.

Democracy is being sacrificed on the altar of Donald Trump. Politicians more concerned with expediency rather than correctness.

Yesterday, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward. Today, Stephen R. Mallory.

Mallory of Key West fame. Confederate fame, also. Key West’s famous Mallory Square is named after him. His bronze bust sits in the Key West Memorial Sculpture Garden. One of 39 recognized for having had a major impact on Key West.

He was a United States Senator from Florida 1851-1861. During that time, he was Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs.

He joined the Confederacy when Florida seceded. He served as Secretary of the Navy for the Confederacy during the entire Civil War. He did an excellent job for the Confederacy.

He fled Richmond at the end of the War, was captured, imprisoned, and charged with treason. After one year, he was paroled by President Andrew Johnson.

Mallory rarely if any time returned to Key West. He settled in Pensacola where he practiced law til his death.

I spoke of the Mallory/Confederacy problem last year when the move to remove statues, proclamations, etc. of Southern supporters arose. I asked: Should Mallory Square be renamed? Should Mallory’s bust be removed from the Garden of honor?

My answer then simple. The same today. Leave well enough alone. Broward, Mallory, and all the rest part of American history. Good, bad or indifferent.

History should neither be altered, destroyed nor removed.

Attended the Key West Craft Show yesterday afternoon. Covered half the length of Whitehead. Everything on exhibit, everything for sale. Great craft!

The Craft Show has been ongoing more than 30 years.

I bought my first Jack Baron painting 20 years ago at the Craft Show. A black Madonna and Child. $3,500. My wife at the time said I was out of my mind.

I still have the painting, as well as many other Baron works. It gives me joy every time I look at it.

Visited with Diana Millikan at cocktail time at her Key West home on Hilton Haven Drive. Her tiny condo sits on a canal.

Diana and I have been working on a book together for ever so long. It seems to be taking forever to complete. We are still at the research stage. The novel intended is a history of Key West prostitution. All the way back to 1660.

Diana just returned from a trip to Haiti to attend the funeral of a friend. She was down with dysentery for three days. She said she drank bottled water. Turned out the water was bottled in Haiti with Haitian waters.

Then to the Chart Room. Shaun bartending. Quiet.

Heard a cruise ship could not dock yesterday. Wind too strong.

Spoke with Tom and Fran Dixson in Buffalo last night. They recently returned from a cruise to Cuba. Leave soon for a 2 week tour of Rome and southern Italy. They are traveling with a Buffalo area seminary. The trip includes an audience with the Pope.

Too much on  my mind sometimes. I thought the Syracuse/Pitt game was tomorrow night. It was saturday night. Missed it. Syracuse won 60-55.

Next game wednesday evening against Georgia Tech at 8. I will not miss it.

Donna called last night. They made it to Tampa. Donna hurting bad. Going to find a Tampa orthopedist today.

Terri’s testing began at 6:30 this morning. I wish her well.

New Orleans has Mardi Gras. Key West, Fantasy Fest.

Beads have been clogging New Orleans’ catch basins for years. To the point, water ain’t moving. A bead removal project underway. Estimated 93,000 pounds of beads (46 tons) to be removed. Sixty four thousand catch basins. Cost: $7 million.

Will Key West ever be so afflicted? Hope not.

We have been complaining about Russian interference in our elections. Putin has turned the tables on us. He is complaining of U.S. meddling in the Russian elections to be held March 18. The pot calling the kettle black.

There is no need for any country to attempt to influence Russian elections. Putin either kills or jails the opposition before the election.

We take automobiles for granted. To drive or ride in. There was a time when autos were new, however.

William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States. He was the first American President to ride in an auto. September 1901 in a Stanley Steamer.

Enjoy your day!

 

A MESS…..PARKING AND TRAFFIC

As Key West’s popularity grows, so too its parking and traffic problems. To the point of exasperation!

City leaders have done their best to remedy the problem. The City Commission has spent six figure money on studies.

Nothing has worked.

The newest approach…..Let the people work it out.

The City Commission is considering approving a six member temporary commission to make recommendations re parking and traffic congestion. The committee would sit for six months. Unpaid. Each Commissioner would appoint one person to the committee.

Can’t be worse than those who have been paid. Maybe better. Those who live in Key West year round have a better handle on the problem.

My sense is the only solution must be a dramatic one. Something not thought of yet. The obvious has not worked.

An observation never taken into consideration. Key West is a tiny island. Four by 1.5 miles. The island is capable of sinking.

A humorous observation! Written with tongue in cheek.

Another consideration is the successful advertising/selling of Key West. More and more visitors every year.

If getting around becomes a problem, if the crowd becomes overbearing, people will go elsewhere. Property values will become reasonable. Key West will return to the serenity of days gone by.

Might not be bad.

Aqua last night. Dueling Bartenders. Tom Luna and Rick Dery.  Bobby Nesbitt guest vocalist.

Liz and friends at the bar. Enjoyed chatting with Liz.

Towards the end of the evening, Larry Smith showed up. I was surprised. Larry rarely frequents Aqua. He said he was driving by and saw Tom, Bobby and me. Decided to stop.

Glad he did. Larry and I rarely see each other these days.

We discussed why. Simple, I said. We have known each other 25 years. We got old. We no longer do Duval Street or go to parties as we did. We are old enough to think a night in front of the TV is fun. There are fewer and fewer of us each year.

Horrible!

Houston and the Texas gulf coast terrible! Even today people are being saved. And the rain continues. I worry about one of the dams overflowing. the water held back is inches from the top.

The past few days have been Harvey’s time. The next few will continue so. In 2005, there was another hurricane. Katrina.  A category 3. Devastated New Orleans.

I mention Katrina because it was on this day in 2005 that Katrina made landfall.

Katrina has been regarded as the worst natural disaster in our history. Harvey will replace Katrina.

Remember Paul Newman in HUD. He carried a bottle of Jack Daniel’s around most of the movie.

Jack Daniel sales shot up. Men switched for a while. All wanted to look like HUD’s Paul Newman. The tilt of the head, walk, etc.

Want to share a bit about Jack Daniel’s.

Jack Daniel’s is a whiskey. The distillery opened in 1866 in Lynchburg, Tennessee. One year after the Civil War ended and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which ended slavery.

A co-founder of the distillery was Jack Daniel.

A former slave became an employee of the new distillery. Nathan “Nearest” Green. Nearest knew everything about distilling whiskey. He soon became head stiller. In later years, the title was changed to master distiller.

Nearest was the first African-American master distiller of record in the United States.

His descendants have continued to work at Jack Daniel’s. Three of Nearest’s sons and four grandchildren while he was still alive. Several generations of descendants. Three working at Jack Daniel’s today.

Lynchburg has another distinction. Davy Crockett lived there a while.

You may wonder at this point why I am recounting Jack Daniel’s and Nearest.

Lynchburg rests in the heart of the Confederacy. Tennessee. Left the Union. Supported the South.

The name Lynchburg  struck me as strange. Lynching of blacks so popular they named a town after it? My initial reaction was pursuant to the political correctness of today, the name would have to be changed.

Made sense. Till I researched from whence the name came.

Judge Lynch. Some sort of War of 1812 hero. I could find nothing connecting him to slavery.

Should the name still be changed? It does bring to mind a grievous act involving blacks.

I leave the judgment to those who support the removal of statues and memorials.

There is a memorial that should come down. On the lawn in front of the County Courthouse in Lynchburg rests a monument to Confederate soldiers.

No question, it should come down under present standards of political correctness.

So there is no misunderstanding, my position is to leave any remembrances of the Confederacy alone. Like it or not, regardless of color, they are a part of America’s history.

My podcast tonight. Nine my time. Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

So many topics. Not sure yet which I will explore in the show’s fast moving half hour.

Enjoy your day!

IT’S A DOG’S WORLD

I was doing a bit of shopping yesterday at Publix. There was a big woman in the aisle with me. She had two tiny dogs on leashes. Both wearing red vests. We moved into the next aisle. I paid no particular attention to her or her dogs. All of a sudden, the loudspeaker said there was a small dog wearing a red vest at the check out counter. The woman went flying by me yelling in a panic…..I am coming darling!

This was not the first time I had seen a dog in Publix. Many times. All sizes.

Key West is dog friendly. Very. Our four legged friends are welcome in many bars, restaurants and stores. First State Bank keeps dog biscuits on the counter. Dogs even have their own beach. Properly called Dog Beach. It sits next door to Louie’s Back Yard. Used daily by dogs for sun and bathing.

My yesterday began with a manicure and pedicure with Tammy. Crowded. All women and me.

Last night the bar at Hogfish. Chatted with various fishermen. The real kind. They have been working the shrimp boats and other type vessels for many years. Some as much as 25. Most are bearded. Some missing a tooth or two. Their faces tanned and haggard. Good company!

The morning news tells us of the man who attacked a TSA agent in the security area yesterday at the New Orleans Airport. He was waving a machete and sprayed one agent’s face with wasp killer. He was shot. Three times. Lived. Now in the hospital.

Frankie and Sandy were in the New Orleans Airport yesterday. They own and operate Frankie the Plumber. Frankie is my former bocce partner. Their plans were to spend a couple of days in New Orleans and then enjoy a two week Caribbean cruise.

If Frankie and Sandy were there at the time of the incident, they should have been ok. They would have been downstairs waiting for their bags and not upstairs where the attack occurred.

Some 30 years ago, I was in Italy for a month with my wife, children and parents. When leaving, we checked our bags and had our tickets reviewed at a particular counter. The next day, several terrorists shot up the same counter we were at the day before, plus two others.

You never know.

The following episode bears out that remark.

My friend Anna from Novara telephoned yesterday to tell me about the Tunisia ISIS attack at a museum in Tunis. Twenty tree killed. Four were Italians. One of the Italians lived near her, though she did not know him personally.

She told me however that my friends Germana and Mini knew the man and his wife. Germana and Mini are the couple that own what may be the biggest rice fields in northern Italy, a golf course, and live in a castle. I mentioned them when I visited Novara.

The dead man was Francisco Caldara. Sixty four. He was with his wife Sonia Reddi who was wounded. They were on a cruise. Tunis was a stopping place so they could visit the museum which apparently is world famous.

Anna told me that later in the day, the ISIS terrorists Twittered the world that they are on an Italian crusade and would soon arrive in Italy.

Our world gets smaller and smaller.

Enjoy your day!