HURRICANE HARVEY HELL

Hurricane Harvey has unleashed a hell upon the Texas gulf coast. Nature at its worst! A howling storm that cannot be blamed on anything other than weather. Global warming not involved.

Harvey does not want to leave. Hanging around a few days. Bringing with it rain in a volume not common.

How much damage? How many dead? How many injured? Are survivors getting sufficient assistance? Enough drinking water for example?

The answers will not come till Harvey has gone. Then the impact will be known.

Front page this morning’s Key West Citizen the current state of affairs re remedial work to North Roosevelt Boulevard.

North Roosevelt Boulevard is a State highway. A few years ago, Florida spent 4 years renovating the Boulevard big time. The final job has a couple of minuses. Big time minuses. Properly described as major screw ups.

One has to do cross-walks. There are 5. Their purpose to make it safe for pedestrians to cross the major busy thoroughfare.

The cross-walks a disaster. Invite accidents, death and injuries. So far, only one death. Injuries more.

The cross-walks are poorly designed. Need a red light as part of them so traffic will recognize the need to stop and will stop. Without red lights, the cross walks create more danger than when the road was without any.

After constant badgering by City and County officials, the State has come up with the remedial plan. Merely a suggestion at this point. It will redo the cross-walks with red lights. The time frame includes design to be done in 2019 and construction to begin in 2021.

If the City so desires, it can do the corrective work itself and then seek reimbursement from the State.

Typical bureaucratic delay. The State is making a mountain out of a mole hill. Put the red lights in and be done with it. Boulevard users should not have to wait 4-5 years to get the job done.

How many people will die or be injured during those years because of the State’s obstinacy?

Another government mess in the making. Key West’s amphitheater. The mess plentiful. One at the moment is naming rights. A bidding process to be used. He who bids the most will get to name the amphitheater.

So far five names suggested. Not all of whom have the dollars to successfully bid. At least one dead.

One person openly expressing his desire to have the amphitheater named after him is Jimmy Buffett. He has the money to successfully bid.

I am shocked at the number who do not want Jimmy Buffett’s name on the amphitheater. For all kinds of reasons that do not seem to have validity.

Typical Key West, however. A place where some have their heads up their asses. They make a lot of noise. The squeaky wheel gets the attention.

Sheriff Arpaio’s Presidential pardon a disgrace. Most believe Trump has the power. I am not sure.

The Constitution extends the power. In few words. An old Supreme Court decision decided in 1866 interpreted the power broadly. I question whether the decision would be followed today were the issue brought before the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department has a Pardons section. Application must be made by the person seeking the pardon. Five years must have elapsed from the time of conviction. The person seeking the pardon must admit responsibility for the crime. The applicant must show remorse for having committed the crime.

None of these factors have been complied with in the Arpaio situation. An example of Trump not respecting the law, believing he is the law, etc.

I doubt Arpaio will get to the Supreme Court. I cannot conceive of the Session’s Department of Justice doing so. Meaning Trump will get away with what appears to be wrongdoing once again.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

MARTHA WASHINGTON AND BESS TRUMAN BIRDS OF A FEATHER

John from the Chart Room had a night off. We did dinner together at Hot Tin Roof. Good food and good company! As usual, the Hot Tin Roof was packed.

I asked in yesterday’s blog…..Where was the U.S.S. Vinson? It was supposed to be in North Korean waters. Nothing had been mentioned as to its location for almost two weeks.

My inquiry was premature by several hours. Yesterday afternoon it was announced the Vinson had arrived in Korean waters and was engaged in war games with South Korea. TV this morning is showing videos of the Vinson and smaller vessels in Korean waters.

Today, there is a Coast Guard cutter named the U.S.S. Mohawk. Stationed here in Key West. Yesterday, yesterday being 1859-1864, there was a screw steamship in the Navy named the U.S.S. Mohawk.

I write about the Mohawk of old because yesterday was significant in its history. An event which ultimately became even more significant in Key West history.

In 1860, the Mohawk was operating against pirates and slavers off the east coast and in the Caribbean. On April 28, 1860, the Mohawk captured the slave ship Wildfire. The Wildfire carried 530 slaves from Africa. The crew and slaves were delivered to Key West.

The crew was imprisoned. The slaves placed in a compound under the protection of the Mohawk’s Marines.

Subsequently, vessels of the United States captured two more slave ships. The slaves on each were delivered to Key West and placed in the same compound as those from the Wildfire. Total number of slaves exceeded 1,200.

What to do with the slaves? Obviously return them to Africa. Where in Africa, however? Ultimately decided to relocate all of them to Liberia, a country in Africa. President James Monroe had as a practical matter returned previous slaves to Liberia. Liberia was a welcoming place for returned Africans. They created a new society.

Not all the slaves confined in Key West were returned. Some had died. Two hundred ninety five. They were buried on Higgs Beach. Many years later in recent times, their graves were discovered. A small monument sits on Higgs Beach recognizing the final resting place of those who did not live to return to Africa.

The Mohawk continued functioning till 1864 during the Civil War in defense of the United States. The Mohawk is the reason Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortuga’s and Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West remained in Union hands.

Beat up from combat, its boilers to badly damaged, its general condition unfit for further fights, the Mohawk was sold in 1864.

It was renamed the Alliance and remained in commercial service till 1869 when it was wrecked at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina.

Martha Washington and Bess Truman may be described as birds of a feather. Neither was happy her husband became President and each was less than supportive of her husband during his days as President.

Bess Truman’s story is more familiar to us. Perhaps because of its closeness in time.

Note the many trips by President Truman to Key West. Eleven. Consumed 175 days. Bess was with him only a few times. While Truman was living and working in Washington, Bess was home in Independence. She preferred the company of her Independence lady friends.

Martha’s questionable helping hand less known.

Washington was sworn in for his first term as President in New York City on this date in 1789. Martha was not with him. She was back in Mount Vernon.

Washington was tired/beat up prior to making the trip from Mount Vernon to Washington. He was trying to close down the business end of Mount Vernon. There were bills to pay. He had a difficult time arranging for a loan to cover them.

Martha was not happy he had agreed to become President. She was tired of public life. Wanted to live the rest of her days in Mount Vernon as a domestic wife. She abhorred politics. She refused to join her husband in New York City for the inauguration.

A comment or two on Washington’s inauguration.

His inaugural speech was important to him. He had several persons helping him. One by one in succession. Over a period of several months. He was displeased with every rendition. He finally called in James Madison for help. Madison spent a week at Mount Vernon helping Washington knock out the final draft.

There was a reception following Washington’s swearing in. It is recorded that Washington mentioned to some in attendance that democracy was fragile. He hoped what they had created would survive.

It did. Still fragile, however. You never know what could happen. Especially in the sensitive times we live in.

Enjoy your Sunday!

DOGFISH DEMANDS HOGFISH RENAME TO SPEARFISH

It’s called growing pains. Microbreweries/minibreweries have been gaining in popularity in recent years. Competition arises. The older guys don’t like the newer ones. Pressure arises. Pressure brought by the older companies upon the newer companies.

Hogfish have been around since time immemorial. Fished with a spear.

Dogfish have been around equally long. A  shark species.

A company in Delaware whose name contains Dogfish wants local Florida Keys Brewing Co. to change the name of one of its beers. Hogfish. To avoid confusion. Don’t want people ordering Hogfish thinking it is a Dogfish brew.

Ridiculous. I do not see it in this situation. No one has a singular hold on fish names. Especially under these circumstances.

Florida Keys Brewing may be considering capitulation. I can understand. Legal costs in such a case can be burdensome. Especially for a relatively new company.

I would take one last shot at the problem. Florida Keys Brewing should tell Dogfish they will change Hogfish to Spearfish if Dogfish changes its name to Shark.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

Chart Room last night. Drunk lady not there. I assume she was a tourist. I had never seen her before and hope to never see her again. Bill bartending.

Ran into Ted. Ted from Wampsville, NY. How many of you have heard of Wampsville? Wampsville is a small community in central New York. County seat for Madison County.

Ted is a fellow lawyer. Spent most of his career as a court clerk. A responsible position. The brains behind the judge.

Ted has vacationed in Key West for years. This year for a whole month. Retired.

The past two years, Ted has stopped into the Chart Room looking for me. Our paths did not cross. We exchanged cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses to avoid such a problem in the future. We intend to have dinner together before he leaves.

Ted and I exchanged legal talk. I tried cases in the Madison County Courthouse over the years. I enjoyed the conversation. Lawyer talk. A while since I have had someone to do it with.

John was outside at the Beach Bar. Visited him. Cold!!! The Beach Bar sits on open water. Low 60s with 20 mph wind.

Met Brian and Shanon at the Beach Bar. Nice people. From Columbus, Ohio. I love Columbus. Spent many a day working there on Nationwide matters.

Brian a realtor. Shanon in HR work.

First time in Key West. Having a great time!

On the way home, stopped at Publix. Cupboard really bare. Spent twice what I normally do.

Watched a bit of the Syracuse/UNC-Greensboro game. Syracuse won 90-77.

William Hackley still having dental problems. 1856 had to be a painful year. He was up most of the night with intense teeth pain. Went to Dr. Walton’s office in the morning. Dr. Walton “sacrified” his gums and “cut down to the roots.”

Dentistry years ago not as it is today. Pain!!! I recall my visits in the late 1930s and 1940s. Today, almost painless.

I can imagine how painful it had to be in 1856. Dentistry? Or, butchery?

The North Roosevelt Boulevard cross-walks continue to be in the news. Someone wrote to Citizens’ Voice re the danger: “Next to all the cross-walks on North Roosevelt Boulevard should be kiosks where you can buy life insurance.”

Something bothers me. I am a liberal at heart. As most of you are aware. I believe conservatives generally are on the wrong track.

The Key West Library is permitting its facility to be used at noon today for a two hour meeting. The group the Florida Keys Indivisibles. Political. Democratic at heart. Popularly referred to as bird doggers.

The organization is an activist training seminar. Speakers I assume trained provocateurs. The cry to organize and oppose. Require legislators to attend a town meeting, attend town meetings yourself, tie up with similar groups across the etc.country, be confrontational,  etc.

Will the rhetoric of the campaign ever cease?

Sounds like a guerrilla training camp to me.

Bocce tonight.

Have to hustle. A haircut with Lori at noon.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

EARLIER ERA DISCRIMINATION

Racial discrimination an in your face item today. Trump’s attempts to limit/stop Muslim immigration an example.

Today, it is Muslims. At another time, the Chinese. The year 1888. On this date in 1888, the U.S. passed a law forbidding Chinese laborers from entering America. Note the word “laborers.” Merchants, extra smart persons and seafarers not included.

California was the tender spot. Over 100,000 had come in. The Anglo cry was they were taking up the white man’s jobs and causing wages to be low.

By 1888, some Chinese had become successful. They owned and operated laundries and restaurants. Both considered women’s work up to that time.

The U.S. continued to discriminate against and exclude laboring Chinese till 1943. The middle of World War II. The Chinese were our ally and such blatant racism could not be permitted to continue.

Spent a little time yesterday reading about turtles and the Florida Keys. A tale of love.

Sloan came by mid afternoon. I called her. Needed her. I wanted to improve on my new Go Live videos on Facebook. Two problems. Quickly resolved.

Big night! Jenna at Berlin’s. We had not seen each other for several weeks. It was catch up time.

Jenna is absolutely amazing. Her professional life continues to develop. Her income accompanies the success.

She was excited I was doing FB videos. She was watching them. She quickly shared with me two things I could do to make the videos better. Love her!

Compared to Jenna, I am a rank amateur when it comes to social media, FB, video, etc.

She shared with me a recent exciting experience.

Jenna has been running the past year. I should be so thin! She has competed in several 5Ks. Comes in 1st or in the top 5.

She works out with Dante. Another thin creature. His abs pronounced.

Jenna ran a short video on FB of her and Dante standing waiting to run. Eleven thousand views! Wow! Even she was surprised. She could not figure out why the video became instantaneously hot.

Would I love to have 11,000 views!

Bria stopped by. Lovely! Enjoyed her singing afterwards.

Tennessee Williams time.

This afternoon at 2 at the Tennessee Williams Gallery at 513 Truman, a talk about the making of The Rose Tattoo. Starred Anna Mangani and Burt Lancaster. Filmed in Key West in a house 2 doors from Williams’ home. The movie based on a Tennessee Williams story.

One week from today at The Studios of Key West, a presentation involving Williams and Frank Merlo. Williams and Merlo were lovers. They lived together in Key West and elsewhere for years. I believe their love letters the basis of the show.

I wrote about the Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo relationship in an article in KONK Life three years ago. The emphasis was on the influence that Merlo had on Williams life and writing.

The State of Florida took like a 100 years to complete the reconstruction of North Roosevelt Boulevard. The State screwed up re the cross walks. How to long to spell out. If you live in Key West, you know.

Too many accidents at the crosswalks. Serious injuries the result.

The State has been screwing around about correcting the situation. Nothing definite from them.

City officials are trying again. The State has to come in and fix. It is a State highway. Even if the State agrees, I can tell you it will be an additional 2-3 years to get to it because of funding. Not in the budget or proposed budget.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. On this date 1950, the President arrived in Key West for a one month vacation. A working one. At the Little White House.

I am fortunate to live on this island. Warm most of the time. Experienced enough snow while living up north.

New York City got hit by a major snow storm in 1888. Began this date. Forty inches in 36 hours. The City was isolated for days. An example being that messages to Boston had to be routed through England.

Here I go again with robots and autonomous intelligence. It is not sneaking upon us. It has. And no one is talking about where those human employees being replaced by robots, etc. will work.

The issue is not bringing jobs back from Europe, Asia and Mexico. Such an issue 20 years ago. Over the next 3-4 years, it will be the robots taking over.

And no one talks about it. Not even Trump who professes to know everything.

California plans to permit no driver vehicles on its highways by the end of the year. No steering wheel, no pedals, no driver.

A biggie beginning at 5:30 today. The NCAA Selection Show. I do not expect Syracuse to be selected.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

PRAYER AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

I have attended many club meetings over the years. I cannot recall the last time a meeting was opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Till last night.

I attended my first meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Italy. It was held at Bottle Cap. The business portion of the meeting began with a prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

My recollection is that prayer is no longer permitted to start the school day. As to the Pledge of Allegiance, some States require it, some have made it optional, some have no law re the issue.

I had no problem with the prayer and Pledge at the meeting. Actually, it felt good to do both again at the beginning of an event. Days of my youth.

The Sons and Daughters are having a fundraiser January 28. Together with the Key West Wildlife Center. The Sons and Daughters portion is to benefit their scholarship fund.

The fundraiser a big deal. A large crowd anticipated. Between 100-200.

It is a bocce fundraiser. Will be held at the Key West bocce courts from 5:30-9:30. New and experienced players welcome. Bocce teachers will work the courts where the newbies will be playing. Hamburgers and hot dogs. Total cost $20.

Following the meeting, I met Barb at the outside bar at La Te Da for dinner. It was crispy duck for me. Meat loaf for Barbara.

This evening’s meal will be exceptional. Liz is having a small dinner party. The woman can cook!

I was looking for something in the afternoon. Looked everywhere, but my desk. My desk a mess. Five years since I have cleaned and rearranged it. Piles of papers here and there.

I had no choice. Had to clean the desk top. Stored some papers in filing cabinets. Threw others out. Did not find what I was looking for.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness so I guess the effort was not without some benefit.

I have referred to Victor at the Chart Room many times as having an exceptional mind. He is a philosopher of sorts. Reads heavy philosophical books.

On my first trip to Greece several years ago, he gave me The Law by Frederic Bastiat to read on the trip.

I started reading it on the first leg of the flight to Atlanta. Stopped after 30 pages. The material too heavy for me.

I thought I left the book on the plane when I arrived in Atlanta. Apologized to Victor on my return. We occasionally joke about it, the book being forgotten on the plane, the material being too heavy for me.

Guess what? I found the book yesterday. It was on my desk. Under a good ten inches of papers. I have no recollection of seeing the book once I departed the plane in Atlanta.

Can’t wait to return the book to Victor. My conscience will finally be clear.

The cross walk problems on North Roosevelt Boulevard appear to be coming to resolution. There are six cross walks. The State says three will be eliminated. Two will have pedestrian activated signals. Nothing required to the remaining one.

Corrections not yet final. Nothing ever is when dealing with the government. The State wants to check their traffic figures once more before finalizing the corrections.

Another year!

Today In Keys History notes that in 1952, 250 shrimp trawlers operated out of Key west. Each averaged a catch of 2,500 shrimp a day.

No more. Shrimp primarily harvested somewhere else today. Only a few shrimp boats remain in the Key West area.

I made mention in my tuesday podcast of the 1951 hit song Shrimp Boats: Shrimp boats is a-comin’ / Their sails are in sight. / Shrimp boats is a-comin’ /there’s dancing tonight.

Shrimp boats was introductory to my dissertation re robots. Today concerning shrimp fishing itself.

Political correctness continues to go a step too far.

Students at the University of London’s School of Oriental and Asian studies want white philosophers eliminated from their text books. Their position being only African and Asian philosophers should be studied. The students’ purpose “to decolonize” the “white institution.”

They wish to be rid of Plato, Descartes, Immanuel Kant and Bertrand Russell.

Vice-Chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon responded to the request: “There is a real danger political correctness is getting out of control. We need to understand the world as it was and not to rewrite history as some would like it to have been.”

Good for you, Vice-chancellor Seldon! Administration hierarchy in the United States are  capitulating to similar type requests by students. Like remove campus statues of white heroes and replace them with African-Americans.

Enjoy your day!

 

THE GARDENS SUNDAY EVENING

A normal Sunday by day yesterday. I laid around reading the Sunday papers.

Last night began with the Gardens. Kate Miano’s special place.

Early Sunday evenings, the Gardens are packed. Last night was no different. I arrived at 6, an hour after entertainment began. The place looked like it was season! So many people!

As I moved between bodies to get to the bar, I ran into friends Lynda and Bob Frechette. Good people. They are everywhere. Exemplary Key West supporters.

Met two interesting couples. Sandra and Denis (his name is spelled with only one n). From new Hampshire. Have a time share here.

Sandra a personality. For forty years, she has owned and operated the largest salon and spa in New Hampshire. Husband Denis is with GE. Plans on retiring next year.

The other couple, Joan and Jeff. From split venues. Joan from New Jersey and Jeff Philadelphia.

Joan a bankruptcy attorney. Jeff owns a unique business. He is involved in plastics. And…..he manufactures in the USA and sells in China!

Sandra and Denis know Key West. They asked me about restaurants. First words out of my mouth were Latitudes for dinner and Blue Heaven for breakfast. They had already done both the day before. Needed no one’s advice.

Debra and Patrick are in town. Two fantastic entertainers. For years at La Te Da each season. Don’t recall them being there in recent years.

They were entertaining at the Gardens. Many in attendance to see old friends.

As I was leaving, Debra was gracious in stepping off the porch and coming over to me while she was singing…..Key West Lou! A big hug and kiss. I have known Debra and Patrick 20 years.

My game plan was to follow up the Gardens with a visit to the new Side Bar. A dancing emporium recently opened by Aqua.

What a place! Lovely! Seductive atmosphere. Cute bar. Should be a winner.

Unfortunately, I was the only one there. Too early for dancing people. I said hello, was given a tour of the place, and left.

Went around the corner to Aqua’s Duval entrance. Tom Luna bartending. Mark Watson in and out. I sat at the bar for one drink and enjoyed Tom’s company. A good man. Loved by all.

While I was sitting at the bar, Tom Blackburn came in. One of Key West’s premier photographers. Perhaps the premier.

I had never seen Blackburn before. A big guy. He came over and introduced himself. A big hug. Reads my writings. I was immediately endeared to him.

Blackburn’s photos interesting. Many a bit different. His internet site says he captures images of the world around him. He does. As he sees that world.

Received an e-mail from Don and Chris this morning. We will be meeting tonight at Aqua for Dueling Bartenders.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. Truman made 11 trips to Key West. A total of 175 days.

On this day in 1949, the President arrived with wife Bess and daughter Margaret for a three week vacation. Unusual Bess was with the President. Historians tell us she preferred living in Independence and did not spend much time with her husband in the White House.

Sad for Truman. I have had the opportunity to read many of the letters the President wrote to his wife while he was in the White House and she in Independence. Letters of love.

Shakespeare one of the greatest novelists/writers of all time. No question. He knew and understood life. The good and bad. The unexpected.

On this day in 1582, 18 year old William Shakespeare married 26 year old Anne Hathaway. Six months later, their baby was born.

Onward Rotary. Installment 24.

Love the palm trees lining North Roosevelt Boulevard? They are new. Came with the new highway.

In 1971, Key West was raising money to plant palm trees along North Roosevelt Boulevard. One hundred ninety two. The Rotary contributed $344. Paid for 20 trees. The remaining $4 went to the fertilizer fund.

The Rotary sponsored a club at the Key West High School. Called Interact. The purpose of the club was to teach the young Rotary values. Get the kids involved at an early age.

At a Rotary meeting on March 18, 1971, the officers and directors of Interact were honored by the Rotary. Deservedly so.

It was pointed out that Interact in the past year had sent Christmas baskets to Vietnam soldiers, held a clothing drive to help the needy, helped to raise funds to send the Key West High School Band to Washington, and offered prizes to boost baseball game attendance.

Even Key West Cemetery found itself in Rotary’s helpful hands.

In the Fall of 1981, the Key West Cemetery was a mess. Overgrown with weeds. Needed sprucing up. Rotary members spent four consecutive weekends cleaning up the Cemetery.

Enjoy your day!