BRICEN, MACARIO THE MONKEY, LAKOTA THE LION, AND HERMAN……CHATHAM VILLAGE BEARS

 

I met the parents of the Chatham Village Bears last night. Art and George. Designers and producers of tiny animals. Cute little ones. Like Brien, Macario the Monkey, Lakota the Lion, and Herman. Plus hundreds more. Too many to mention.

Art and George are Key Westers. Many years. They started making these soft furry animals. The animals caught on. Their business now world wide.

I met Art and George last week at Hot Dog Church. Art missed services this week. I arrived near the end to meet Donna and Terri. We had planned to have dinner together. George at the bar.

We invited George to join us. He called his husband Art. The five of us enjoyed a fun filled dinner at Antonia’s.

Take a look at  George and Art’s website. www.chathamvillagebears.com. You will be impressed. I ordered Macario the Monkey to sit on the corner of my desk. I need company.

Laurie was bartending for the Church at Aqua’s Back Bar. A personality! Originally from France.

I complain about traffic. Bicycles, also. Key West has become overburdened with people and machines.

A perfect example is what was reported in Citizens’ Voice this morning. Someone had driven to Fort Zach Beach. Had to go through “customs.”  The toll booth. Twenty three cars ahead of him.

The worst I have ever been is number 3 in line, with no one behind me.

The topic yesterday on Key West Lou Live, my Facebook video, were wedding cookies. I can only take so many days of talking about Trump.

The Wall Street Journal’s weekend addition had a front page article about wedding cookies. They have superceded the wedding cake and in many instances replaced the wedding cake.

A recent Youngstown, Ohio wedding had 500 invited guests. Eighteen thousand cookies consisting of 150 varieties served. No wedding cake.

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It was to be read to the people from the steps of Independence Hall. Printed copies were to be handed out.

The reading and distribution of copies had to wait till July 8. The printer could not get them out earlier.

On this day in 1925, the Monkey trial began. Also known as the Scopes trial. Evolution the issue. William Jennings Bryan for the People. Clarence Darrow for the Defense.

I wrote a lengthy article re the trial several years ago for KONK Life. The trial was a fraud. A phony. Perverted American history till recently.

The community involved was a small Tennessee town called Dayton. Business was poor. The city fathers decided something dramatic had to occur to correct the situation.

They decided on a trial involving a matter of national interest.

Evolution was much discussed back then. Whether man evolved from God or beast. It was against Tennessee law to teach evolution evolved from anyone other than God.

The city fathers convinced a young school teacher John Thomas Scopes to say he had taught evolution in his classes. Man evolved from animal.

The community leaders, the judge and Scopes were all part of the chicanery. No one else knew.

The trial did get national attention. The attorneys on both sides were unaware of the fraud being perpetrated and fought like hell in the court room. So much so, that William Jennings Bryan died five days after the trail.

Paris’ birthday this year will find the City more than 2,000 years old. Somewhere between 2,066 and 2, 267 years old. The actual date of its founding uncertain. 250 BC generally utilized. Historians acknowledge the uncertainty.

Enjoy your day!

LAZY GECKO…..SO LONG, FAREWELL, AUF WIEDERSEHEN, ADIEU

Today, the last for Lazy Gecko. It closes at the end of business this evening. I give the Gecko a Sound of Music goodbye. Well deserved.

The Gecko has been part of the Park Ave. 200 block of Duval for many years. Seated between Sloppy Joe’s and Irish Kevin’s.

Word on the street is someone bought the building Gecko is in and raised the rent. Beyond what Gecko proprietors thought they could pay.

The number I hear is $30,000 a month.

High, but not high in comparison to rents of other lower end Duval properties.

Word on the street also suggest Irish Kevin’s got a kick up in the rent. To $65,000 a month. Irish Kevin’s is significantly larger than the Gecko and does a much bigger business each night than the Gecko.

There is a party tomorrow night at the Gecko for its regular customers. A going away event.

Gecko’s demise sad. Life, however.

My new neighbor is gone, also. The golf course crocodile.

The croc was a she. Nine feet long, 200 pounds. Caught in the middle of the night after a four hour struggle. The croc was taken somewhere up the Keys and released.

She was caught at her home at the 11th hole pond.

The crocodile had traveled a bit. In the less than the month’s time she lived at the pond, she had also been sighted on Stock Island and Key Haven. Key Haven my former residence.

Stopped at the Chart Room first last night. Who calls out Lou? My political adversary/friend from the other evening. Paul. The fellow from Indiana who lives in Mike Pence’s district and knows him. The same Paul who got excited while talking in support of Trump.

The guy is my friend! No question. We talked long last night. No politics. Met his wife Kim. A honey. Typical midwest. Warm and friendly.

Pete came in for a beer. We started talking. Age came into the discussion. I advised him I had just turned 82. He told me he was 76. Looked exceptionally great for his age.

Pete has been in Key West since the 1970s.

He still works. A civilian employee for the federal government. Said he had to. He has a 14 year old son to educate. Born of his fourth marriage.

I laughed, he laughed. It is funny when you think about it.

I admired his desire to make sure his last child’s education was totally paid by him. He had done it for his other children.

I told him I understood. I educated my four children. One hundred cents on the dollar. I did not want them to struggle financially through school as I had.

The one hundred cents on the dollar included a car and spring break vacations. I frequently thumbed. Spring break? What was that?

Near the time I was getting ready to leave, Jessica walked in. A Miss America type! Actually, Mrs. America. Around 40. Lives near Los Angeles.

I was in a hurry to eat. It was 9 and I had not had anything since breakfast. The growling in my stomach took precedence over Jessica.

My destination was Tavern ‘n Town. They have a new Happy Hour from 9-11. Tapas and drinks half price.

Last night was my fourth visit.

I like the late Happy Hour. A tapas, two drinks and a light bill. $18.

Can’t go wrong.

I made an error in yesterday’s blog. Mentioned Mel Fisher Days was ending today. Not so. Mel Fisher Days has not yet begun. It starts next thursday and runs through saturday. The event commemorates Fisher’s discovery of the Atocha.

This weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting article front page. Cookie tables at wedding have  become larger and more common.

I recall cookie tables at the weddings of my children. Their mother, the family and friends baked for weeks in preparation for the cookie table. I was unaware that it had now grown into a big time expensive item for what the Journal described as “modern weddings.”

The article reported a recent wedding in Youngstown, Ohio where 18,000 cookies consisting of 150 varieties were served.

Enjoy your sunday!

 

 

 

BIRTHDAY CONTINUED

My birthday continued into last night. Donna and Terri invited me to dinner. I did not realize they were going to do Happy Birthday.

I was greeted with Happy Birthday as I arrived. Imagine Terri’s crescendo! Drinks followed by a home cooked meal by gourmet chef Donna.

After dinner, Happy Birthday cake. Unexpected. Home baked brownies topped with whip cream. And two candles: One an 8, the other a 2.

Happy Birthday sung again!

Gift, a bottle of Beefeaters.

Received an e-mail from Joseph. Biblical. He thanked me for letting him participate in the “Feast of my Nativity.”

Joseph is 69. Ailing from a back surgery more than a year ago. Not perfect yet.

Joseph is 69. Short and thin. A white beard and mustache. Needs a cane. His cane is a rod. A six foot wood pole.

I refer to Joseph as John the Baptist since he began using the pole.

I spent yesterday doing nothing. Laid around all day. I was beat! Moving and unpacking had taken its toll. Shot!

My new neighborhood is a delight to behold. Cute single family homes. Greenery everywhere. Trees arching over the roadway.

Decided I would try to walk again. The peaceful surroundings called out to me.

I walked this morning. Early. Out of bed, into shorts and sneaks. Before I said, screw it!

The walk delightful. Once around a block. All of 10 minutes. I am starting off slow. Want to succeed this time.

Three popular Key West events on going or imminent.

Mel Fisher Days began thursday and end today. The event is to commemorate Fisher’s discovery of the Spanish galleon Atocha.

Mango Fest next saturday July 15. Bayview Park. All kinds of activities and mango foods. Sponsored by the Key West Police Athletic League. The League supports and participates in all kinds of children’s activities.

Finally, one of the best. Hemingway Days! Ten days of Hemingway fun beginning July 18. Including the Running of the Bulls, the Hemingway Look Alike Contest, and Sloppy Joe’s Hemingway Birthday Party.

The things I learn from William Hackley’s life. His diary for this day in 1856 records Hackley paying the rent on his Key West home. Paid for six months with a $450 Treasury warrant. Works out to $75 a month.

Can’t rent anything for $75 a month anymore! Hackley’s rent today would be at least $3,000 a month.

Hemingway. One of Key West’s most famous citizens.

On this day in 1918, Hemingway was 18. World War I three years old. The United States not yet in the war.

Hemingway wanted to participate. He joined the American Red Cross and was stationed in northern Italy as an ambulance driver.

While serving on the front, a mortar shell went off near him. Hemingway was seriously injured. Spent quite a while in the hospital because of shrapnel wounds. One leg especially beat up.

During his hospital stay, he fell in love with a nurse. A serious romance. After he returned home and was arranging for her to follow him, his loved dumped him for a lieutenant of royal lineage.

While living in Key West, Hemingway worked on his manuscript A Farewell to Arms and had the book published.

The book  reflected on northern Italy during World War I, the experiences of a Red Cross ambulance driver, his love affair with a nurse, and the tragic ending of the love affair. The nurse love died in the book.

Hemingway’s actual war time life experiences formed the basis for his first best selling novel.

In 1962, the movie PT-109 was filmed on Munson Island in the Keys. Pt-109 was the war time story of John Kennedy and his heroic experience following the sinking of PT-109.

A lot of local background.

Munson Island was owned at the time by Sheriff John M. Spottswood. Subsequently to become a Florida State Senator.

Kennedy was visiting Key West if my memory proves correct for a meeting with Great Britain’s Prime Minister MacMillan. Spottswood was close to Kennedy. He suggested a good place to shot the movie was Munson Island which he owned. Munson Island became the place.

Munson Island today is Little Palm Island.

Spottswood had five children. He was the patriarch of the family. A Key West icon. His children all successful today and respected community leaders. I only know one. Robert and his wife, Elena. Two fine people.

Cliff Robertson played Kennedy in the movie.

I met Robertson 12 or more years ago at the Mel Fisher Museum. The Museum was kicking off a national fund raising campaign. Robertson was honorary chairman.

The good looking young vital man of PT-109  days was now aged. Never the less, dapperly dressed and sharp of wit.

A Trump observation. He is out of his class at the G20 meeting in Hamburg. In over his head. Especially with Putin.

Enjoy your day!

 

THE BIKINI IS BORN

A special day. Not just in American history. World wide.

The bikini made its debut this day in 1946. Seventy one years old and still going strong! If anything, skimpier.

The bikini was introduced in Paris. The United States had tested an atomic bomb the week before on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The bikini was named after the blast.

Must be something right about the bathing suit to have survived so long. Men without question derive pleasure from the voyeur perspective. Women because of comfort? Do they enjoy showing off a bit? I have never been able to figure it out. Whatever, stay with it ladies!

Spent the Fourth emptying moving boxes. About 50 percent done.

Took a few hours off in the afternoon. My podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou last night. Show not developed. I needed to prepare.

Did the show at 9. Excellent material. Easy to come by. Trump a writer’s dream.

The topic however that interested me the most had to do with plastic bottles.

In the United States alone, 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute. A number! Works out to 480 billion a day.

A disposal problem. Some recycled. Too many to recycle all. Others end up in waterways and landfills.

England may have found the solution. Plastic bags their problem. England taxed plastic bag usage 5 pounds per bag. Close to $5 a bag American money.

Plastic bag usage dropped 85 percent the first year.

Never got to see the fireworks. I was doing my show at the time. could hear the boom booms, however. One after another.

Enjoy you day!

PBS MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT…..INSPIRATIONAL

A lot to cover this morning.

The eve of every Memorial Day, PBS holds a concert on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Patriotic.

Last night’s was extremely emotional, as well as patriotic. I shed many a tear. We need more events like last night to remind us what our men and women are going through in Afghanistan and Iraq. What has and is happening to their minds, bodies and families.

The 30th Annual Minimal Regatta at Schooner Wharf yesterday afternoon. I missed it this year. However, this morning’s Key West Citizen carries many photos of the boats and participants.

The boats all looked fantastic. Evidencing the degree of work that went into preparing the vessels.

Only in Key West. Two women fighting because one could not give an orgasm to the other.

For real. Reported in this morning’s Crime Report. Two reunited female lovers staying at Margaritaville. Four in the afternoon. In their room. One of the women told the police her girl friend was inept at helping her to achieve an orgasm.

No arrests were made.

Sloppy Joe’s. On this day in 1937, Sloppy Joe’s celebrated its grand opening at Joe’s newly acquired bar on the corner of Duval and Greene Streets. Had to be a hell of a party! Can you imagine…..Hemingway one of the participants!

The Key West City Commission continues to have their heads up their asses! One of the worst bunch of civil servants I have seen in my lifetime.

Mel Fisher Museum is part and parcel of Key West. Funded originally by Mel Fisher himself after he struck gold. Now dependent on a small souvenir operation and donations.

The Museum applied for a zoning change so it could add some minimal fund raising activities. The City Commission unanimously voted no.

I do not understand. New construction and remodeling is being permitted all over Key West contrary to existing codes and laws. Yet the City Commission does not oppose. An outdoor amphitheater is under construction. Approved by the City Commission quickly and without sufficient analysis. A disaster in the making when finished.

Strangers/outsiders get more favorable attention from the Commission than locals.

I could go on ad infinitum.

These oracles of wisdom decided to blunt the Museum’s request. One that was no big deal in comparison to others approved by the Commission.

Remember Roy Schneider in Jaws when he said, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.” A similar situation confronted a 73 year old fisherman in Australia.

He was in a small boat. Very small. Without warning, a 9 foot 440 pound white shark jumped in the boat. Knocked the fisherman over. Caused injury to one arm. A lot of bleeding.

The fisherman was on his knees eye ball to eye ball with the shark. He scurried to the front of the boat. Not much room in the boat.

Modest, the fisherman described the event as “just a mundane thing.”

The fisherman survived. The shark died.

Merkel can be a pain in the ass. A tough woman. An even tougher political leader. Many the time I have disagreed with her. Not however with regard to her recent comments re Trump at the NATO meeting.

Merkel said yesterday that Europe is basically on its own. The U.S. cannot be depended upon. She said, Europe “must take our fate into our own hands.” Europe cannot rely on “others.”

The result of Trump continuing to suck up to our enemies and defecating on our friends. You do not turn your back on nations that have stood with us and we with them for more than 50 years. A relationship that has insured neither a European war nor world war during that time.

Evangelicals have become big Trump supporters. Lance Wallnau is an evangelist who is an author and preacher. He says he has some Jewish blood running in him from a long distant relative.

Wallnau compares Trump to King Cyrus. A leader found in the Biblical Book of Isaiah. Cyrus was in power during the 500s BC. He was supportive of Jews. A Moses, in effect. History claims he delivered the Jews. Questioned by some historians.

Wallnau refers to Trump as “King Cyrus under siege.” Also, as the “anointed one.”

Wallnau met with Trump last year. He claims he “heard from the Lord” while meeting with Trump.

He views Trump as “a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.”

Wallnau is popular in evangelistic circles.

God help us!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

HEMINGWAY’S PARIS

Tom Oosterhaudt publishes a popular Key West weekly. Conch Color. A well done work. His editorial this week involves Paris and Hemingway.

Hemingway spent seven years in Paris. He wrote of those years. The book Paris Est Une Fete. Translated, Paris Is A Party. The book was published in the U.S. also. The title different. A Moveable Feast. Why, I do not know.

The book was published long ago. Not mentioned in years. Till the recent Paris terrorist attack. The book came alive again. It is #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Tom’s excellent editorial contains a Hemingway quote at the end. Reflective of Hemingway’s ability to blend words. “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

I spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column. The Eiffel Tower. A biography of the Eiffel Tower.  I was motivated to write something about Paris for the same reason as Tom. The terrorist attack. The column publishes wednesday.

Dinner last night at Tavern ‘n Town. I read Conch Color and Tom’s editorial while enjoying dinner at the bar.

Sue Puskedra is lovely, talented and hard working. She owns and operates Susie’s Key West Estates Sales. Does an excellent job. I know from experience.

Susie conducted an estate sale this past weekend that saddens me. I suspect also many Key Westers. After 21 years, Pelican Poop has closed its doors. A Key West icon gone. Never to return.

Paris continues to be in the news. The Paris Climate Summit begins today. Nearly 200 nations attending. Thousands of staff. I agree global warming is a problem. A significant one. However, I doubt the conference will have much success. Too many countries and corporations with divergent  interests affected.

I have yet to visit Paris. A must do for me. Hopefully in the near future. I have visited several small French towns at the foot of Mont Blanc. Ski country. I liked the area. The people not so much. I found the French to be snobbish.

Global warming and climate change being felt in Key West this year. The sea level has risen. Streets normally not flooded are flooded with salt water. Without a major rainstorm.

There is a three day conference beginning tomorrow at Casa Marina to begin dealing with the problem.

Tough to go undefeated in any sport these days. The Patriots found out yesterday when they lost to Denver 30-24. I watched parts of the game. The ability to play a game in snow and cold amazes me.

I am back to Body Owners today. I have not been on the anti-gravity treadmill since last wednesday. My body tells me I have missed it.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

Strange how things worked out yesterday.

I was working on a Tennessee Williams column for this week’s KONK Life. Tough to research. A lot of detail. Verification difficult and time consuming. Finally decided I could not get everything done in time to write the column today.

Went to an easier topic to research. Gertrude Bell. Bell was the female Lawrence of Arabia. She is the one who initially screwed up Iraq by having it carved out as it is. Probably more responsible than Bush 2 for what is transpiring in Iraq and the Middle East today.

When I finished researching Gertrude Bell, I had this compulsion to get back to Tennessee Williams. I did. Though it took a while, I finally had it researched. Ergo, I will be going this week with Tennessee Williams…..A Love. Gertrude Bell is on the shelf for another day.

The Tennessee Williams piece involves his relationship of 14 years with Frank Merlo. A good portion of those 14 years were spent here in Key West at 1431 Duncan Street.

Tennessee Williams and Gertrude Bell ate up much of my saturday. I was too tired to go out last night. Watched some college football and old movies on TV instead.

Oreos have been a part of my life. Love them! Hard not to eat a whole package once I get started. Many have commented over the years how difficult it was for them to stop enjoying Oreos once started. So I wrote about the new Oreo Thins yesterday.

I hit a sensitive spot. I was correct. Oreos are important to many. Received a large number of comments. All not favorable to Thins. Even those who had not yet tried them. Double sugar filling was the cry!

Buffalo’s Tom Dixon wrote. A die hard Syracuse fan, also. He advised that the freshman Syracuse quarterback was Eric Dungey. Son of Tony Dungey, former coach for Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.

Tom also suggested I not get excited. One game does not make a season. He is correct. However, hope springs eternal. We have waited so long.

There is a new video on the internet. Released today. Covers a Paris riot that occurred in July involving immigrants. Take a look. Interesting.

The Eurounion position of we must help is admirable and proper. However, the numbers coming in are so great, they may not be up to the task.

There is a school of thought that suggests some of the refugees are precursor North African and Middle East muslims intent on creating an Islamic Army to conquer Europe. Their goal to open new Islamic territories.

Don’t think me crazy. There is a world wide movement afoot by muslims to accomplish such goals. Keep ISIS, al Qaeda, and 9/11 in mind. These people are smart and compelled.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

 

JIMMY BUFFETT RETURNS

I begin with good news and bad news.

The good news concerns Jimmy Buffett. He returns to Key West wednesday evening. He will appear at the San Carlos. The place is booked solid. No room at the inn.

Being Jimmy Buffett, he once again went a step further. He has financed the placement of a big screen on Higgs Beach wednesday night. His concert from San Carlos will be aired live on the beach screen. Free!

The beach will definitely be overloaded.

Buffett’s concert is at 7:30. His daughter is starting the Higgs Beach event at 4:30. A mini Woodstock in the making.

The bad news. The Key West City Commission has under consideration paying retired police and firemen a 13th monthly check. The union has asked for the generosity advising that the pensions of many are under the poverty level. Many are struggling on fixed incomes and most do not have health care.

My response is simple. A big NO!

There are many in Key West living on fixed incomes and do not have health plans. What of them?

The union has a hell of a nerve asking for the extra check. Why didn’t they negotiate more money and a health care plan back when?

Social Security is the sole income for many seniors. Monthly check payments for most are definitely below the poverty level. Will they get a 13th monthly check?

The problem police and fire retirees are experiencing is the same many others are in the United States. Retirees from other occupations included. It is part of the times we live in. Unless part of the 1 percent, we are all in bed together.

It is reported the City Commission is wary of the request and has tabled it for a vote. I am wary of the City Commission. They blow taxpayer dollars on a consistent basis. They spend money like they are the Koch Brothers. The difference being that with the Koch Brothers the money is theirs. With the City Commission, it is not. They are taxpayer dollars as opposed to personal monies.

Pru Sowers has written an excellent article on the request for a 13th monthly payment to police and fire retirees. The article is pure factual reporting. It appears in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast.

Vehicle traffic is unquestionably a Key West problem. Especially during tourist season. Too many cars for too few and too narrow streets.

Today’s Key West Citizen’s Citizens’ Voice suggests a solution. Limit the number of cars permitted in certain areas of Key West.

Paris began such a system this past week. They have devised a plan used once before. It worked then and is expected to work now. It will cut the number of cars coming into Paris center by 50 percent.

The Paris problem is different from Key West’s. The solution perhaps the same. Paris has an extreme pollution problem. It is now said that Paris is the worst city in the world for air pollution. So bad, that on mist days smog completely envelops the city. The Eiffel Tower cannot be seen.

The Key West City Commission should study the Paris solution. Of course, they probably will only do so after spending $200,000 on a study. And then, they will neither use the study nor provide any solution to the traffic problem.

I spent yesterday writing this week’s KONK Life column. Things We Should Know. Very interesting! An eye opener in many instances. The article publishes wednesday.

Enjoy your day!