IRMA EVACUEE REUNION

First stop last night was Tammy. My manicurist.

The woman a charm. A mere 34 years old. Born Vietnam. In the U.S. 14 years. Already a proud U.S. citizen. She and husband Rick owners of a thriving nail business.

Always enjoy my half hour with her. We talk of many things.

Then to the main event. Irma evacuee reunion. Those of us who fled the hurricane and ended up spending 12 days as the “guests” of Jean and Joe Thornton at their Birmingham, Alabama home.

Five of us and three dogs.

We bonded.

Only one failed to make the reunion. Dan. Ann, Haywood, Joanne and her friend Tim, me, and the Thorntons at Alonzo’s.

We drank, ate and overall had a good time. Just as it was in Birmingham those 12 days when we were hiding from Irma.

I wrote Irma and Me based on the evacuee situation. Publisher still has not got it out. Thought it would be available for sale three weeks ago. Still waiting.

Most of us ended up at the Chart Room following Alonzo’s. Packed. Streets empty. The Chart Room overflowing. Tourists. I suspect our group were the only locals.

A stimulating evening for me.

Met Jenni and Spence from West Memphis, Arkansas. A great couple!

Jenni a former history teacher. I liked her right away. Now, a high school librarian. Charming and beautiful. Husband Spence a farmer. Soybeans and rice. The farm 5,500 acres. A corporation. Employs 10.

No strangers to Key West. Visit frequently.

Celebrating Spence’s 38th birthday.

I spent most of the evening talking with Spence. An education! Spence is knee deep in the farm situation, Monsanto, pending tax litigation. All tied together. He and an uncle own the farm. They work hard to keep it in their hands and not have to sell to another entity.

A constant battle. Though not hurting financially, the battle one for survival.

Spence opened my eyes to many things.

An interesting announcement in this morning’s Key West Citizen. KWAHS and the Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit are merging. The Williams portion will continue operation at 513 Truman Ave.

Tennessee Williams lived 40 plus years of his life on Duncan Street. He authored The Rose Tattoo. During this week in 1954, Hollywood began filming The Rose Tattoo two doors up from Tennessee Williams’ home. Bert Lancaster and Anna Mangani starred. Mangani received the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance.

My daughter Lisa and family live one block in the other direction on Duncan from the Williams home.

I continue to live and learn. A commandant of the U.S. Marines was born in Key West. General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. Born November 3, 1913. Served as the 24th Commandant of the Marines, 1968-1972.

Ran into Bill from Boston again a couple of nights ago. Would like to run into him again. An interesting person.

We talked college football the first night. I a Syracuse grad. He, Boston college.

The other night he mentioned as we passed a Boston College glory year. Not sure whether 1920 or 1922. Both glory years for Boston!

In 1920, Boston college beat Holy Cross in the season’s final game. Boston went 8-0 that year.

Nineteen twenty two another big Boston College year. Beat Holy Cross 17-13 before a crowd of 54,000. A record for attendance at the time.

Syracuse/Florida State today. Florida State a 6 point favorite. Syracuse could win.

I continue to believe the economic recovery is built on sand. The high market numbers artificially inflated by global central banks. The rich getting richer. the poor, poorer.

A recent study indicated 78 percent of Americans live pay check to pay check. Also, 71 percent are in debt.

Trump left for Asia yesterday. An 11 day trip. He will visit 5 countries.

One is China. Trump is out of his class when it comes to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Trade will be a big issue. China in a much better position than the U.S. as regards trade. If Trump achieves anything, it will be minimal.

An under current in the discussions will be oil and the petrodollar. Way back when, an agreement was entered into where most of the oil trading countries would sell oil using American dollars. A boon for the U.S. Helps keep the value of the American dollar high.

A month ago, Trump thought he was screwing Venezuela’s President Maduro. He sanctioned the hell out of Venezuela. Basically forcing American banks and business persons to stop doing business with Venezuela.

Unfortunately, Trump cannot see beyond his nose. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. Maduro announced that henceforth Venezuela would not sell its oil based on the American petrodollar. It would sell based on the Chinese petro-yuan.

The first major oil producer to break the age long pact that the American dollar was to be used. China happy. Russia, also. Other countries may follow. The result will be the devaluation of the American dollar.

Such will take place over a number of years.

Good job, Mr. President! As you claim, you are one smart man!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

POEMS ARE MADE BY FOOLS LIKE ME, BUT ONLY EMALYN MERCER CAN SAVE A TREE

Change a couple of words and Joyce Kilmer’s famous lines from Trees becomes a well deserved tribute to Key West’s Emalyn Mercer. She saved two huge tongue trees.

It was early morning. Emalyn still in her pajamas. She heard the buzzsaws. Buzzsaws cutting down trees on her block. The trees in front of her mother’s home at 701 Catherine Street appeared in line to be cut down.

Emily ran out and tried to climb the tree. Her husband brought a ladder. Up she went. A sign appeared…..Save the Trees.

Emalyn perched on the tree for two hours. The buzzsaws went away. Probably to return.

Emalyn, a hero.

Key West has a Tree Commission that orders trees native to Key West to be cut down and replaced with a tree not native to the area. It appears the goal of the Tree Commission is to have similar trees throughout Key West. The approach not Key West nor consistent with a community that has represented within its borders every type person. Diversity called for. Not what the Tree Commission is doing.

Harry Truman is another Key West hero, though his exploits occurred elsewhere.

Key West loves Harry Truman. Truman loved Key West. He vacationed here a total of 175 days covering 11 separate trips.

Yesterday marked the day in 1948 when Truman won election to the Presidency over Thomas Dewey. An unexpected result.

The media was convinced Dewey would trounce Truman. Truman was not a popular President.

It appeared the nation was against him.

Truman opted to do a whistle stop campaign across the country. He stopped at communities big and small. He spoke to those gathered from the back platform of the last car.

I recall his stop in Utica. I was in the eighth grade. Two of my buddies and I rode our bicycles to the railroad station to hear the President. He had already started his talk.

The place was packed. People all over the tracks, etc. listening. We could neither see nor hear the President from the back of the crowd.

We did the necessary. We rolled our bikes right up in front of the platform from which Truman was speaking. There was about five feet separating the President’s car and crowd.

Truman’s talk was the same at each stop. The country was having problems because of a do nothing Congress. Do nothing Congress his verbiage.

We had the best seats in town! We were excited to be there and proud to have been able to be that close to a President of the United States.

Truman had all kinds of insulting occurrences during the campaign. He was not getting Presidential respect from many. One example his whistle stop train traveling somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The train stopped. The conductor told Truman the train would go no further till his bill with the railroad company was paid. It was grossly in default.

Truman dug into his pockets and went around asking others to do so also. Some wrote big checks. The bill was paid and Truman was able to continue.

An insult! As Rodney Dangerfield was wont to say…..Truman was getting no respect.

The nation went to bed election night believing Dewey had won. It took longer in those days to count ballots.

The Chicago Tribune had a late night edition on the streets. Its headline…..Dewey Defeats Truman.

H. V. Kaltenborn was a famous American radio commentator. He went on the air advising that Dewey had defeated Truman.

Both media types wrong. When the nation woke the next morning, Truman had won by more than 2 million votes.

That same morning at a press conference, Truman was asked what he was going to do next. His response…..I’m going to Key West on vacation!

I frequently complain about the tourist operation of bicycles and scooters on Key West streets. A danger to the operators and to others. Car drivers and pedestrians.

Yesterday, another accident involving a tourist driving his scooter in an improper manner.

A 41 year old Louisiana visitor was operating a scooter at the intersection of White and Union. He was passing cars on the right. Went into the intersection and struck a broadside a car making a left turn. The tourist died.

He would not have had he stayed in line with the vehicles to the front of him. Scooter and bicycle operators are required to follow the same laws. One being no passing on the right.

Enjoy your day!

AMERICA’S HORNIEST PRESIDENT

America’s horniest President? Not John Kennedy. Not Bill Clinton.

Warren G. Harding. Considered also our worst President. Referred to as “useless.” His administration blanketed in corruption.

Harding was a lover.

One of his great loves involved Nan Britton.

They met when she was 14 and he 45. The relationship got going in a New York City hotel room when Nan was 18 and the President 49. Everything short of actual consummation. Nan wanted to preserve her virginity.

Two years later when Nan was 20 and the President 51, Nan relented and gave Harding a woman’s most prized possession.

The relationship continued into the White House. Nan had the run of the place. The two were careful as to their sexual escapades. they enjoyed sex in a small closet in the ante-room to the Oval Office. The closet five foot square.

Nan gave birth to a baby girl. He supported her and the child with monthly payments. The Republican National Party did likewise.

Harding and Trump have much in common. In addition to sexcapades, opposition to immigration. Harding enacted racist immigration laws.

Harding referred to Nan as his “sweetheart incompatible.”

He referred to his penis as “Jerry.”

Another of his loves was Carrie Fulton Phillips. Considered Harding’s lifetime mistress.

In 2014, the Library of Congress released Harding’s love letters to Carrie.

In one, he write: “I love your poise / Of perfect thighs / When they hold me in paradise…..”

In another: “Jerry came and will not go, says he loves you….. / He is so utterly devoted that he only exists to give you all.”

Why this story today? Harding was born on this date in 1865.

The Chart Room first last night. John bartending.

Chris and Don there! My Syracuse area friends. Love them both!

they are to be married in March. At the Hyatt. they were to be married on the dock. No dock. Irma. Hyatt assured them there would be one in place by March.

Chris is putting the wedding together. A monumental job. In addition to her work as a top executive with a major company.

They relieved me as to what I am to wear to the wedding. I mentioned I had to purchase a sport jacket, slacks and shoes for the event. I only have shorts, shirts and sandals. Don said, “Absolutely not.” The wedding an informal one attire wise. He is wearing shorts and a sport shirt.

A gent and his wife were seated on the other side of me. He a Boston College grad. An attorney. We talked Boston College sports. Especially, football. Doug Flutie, of course.

Then to Hot Tin Roof alone for dinner. Sat at the bar.

They had stone crabs! My meal! Eight dollars per stone crab. small ones. I had six. Equated to one pound. Absolutely delicious!

As good as the small ones at Pier One. More expensive however. Pier One $26 a pound compared to the $48 a pound I paid at Hot Tin Roof.

Turned out to be a good food and good time evening.

A lady two seats over at the bar asked if I were Louis. I was. we had met 5 1/2 years ago at the Chart Room. She recalled i had mentioned her in the blog the next day.

Lesley her name.

Lesley left Key West at some point thereafter. To Nashville. In the process of returning. actually arrived the day before after fleeing Irma for a few days. she has a position as bartender at the new Duval Central soon to open. The former Gecko’s. She already is settled in. Apartment, etc.

Enjoyed her company. Will stop into Duval Central when it opens to visit her.

Duval Central cannot miss. It is between Sloppy Joe’s and Irish Kevin’s. The word is Gecko closed down because the landlord doubled the rent. It happens in Key West.

This morning’s KONK Life E-Blast carried a slew of photos by Bill Klipp of the Fantasy Fest Parade. Great pics!

There has been no public announcement as to the crowd for the parade. Normally, 80,000. Eighty thousand translates into very crowded sidewalks. Hard to move.

the photos showed much fewer spectators. A marathon could be run on the siewalks.

Guess that is why there has been no announcement as to number of watchers.

I was totally into baseball in my early years. Dies not tuen me on in my old age. as eveidenced by the fact that I watched not one inning of the World Series.

Noted this morning that the Houston /astros won the series in seven games. Over th Los Angeles Dodgers. Congratulations to the Astros

Nevember is National Novel Writing Month. My publisher advised it woud be out by the end of the week. tomorrow is friday. hope it on the stands!

Whatever, Irma and Me will be born during National Novel Writing Month. Unintentionally.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FANTASY FEST PARADE A SUCCESS

I am assuming the Fantasy fest Parade last night was a success. Assume because I did not see it.

I stopped watching the parade ten years ago.

Parking always a problem. I got towed two successive years. Cost $250 each time to get my car back.

Parking always many blocks from Duval. A long walk to and back from the parade.

Too many people. The streets jammed with viewers.

Seen one, seen them all.

Normally, the Sunday edition of the Key West Citizen would run pictures of the parade and police estimates as to the size of the crowd. Unfortunately, we no longer have a Sunday edition of the Citizen.

I was able to find some news about the parade in a Miami paper on the internet. However, the news portion only ran up to the beginning of the parade. There were a few photos and a video of portions of the parade itself. Unfortunately, neither could provide a sense of the size of the crowd.

So definitive information not available to share till tomorrow morning.

Another reason for not attending last night was topical storm Phillipe. Phillipe is the 93L storm I mentioned yesterday. Got upgraded to a tropical storm. Pouring rain was expected.

From what I have been able to ascertain, Key West lucked out as it did with Irma. At the last minute, Phillipe shifted and the parade did not get poured on. Merely a few drops.

Some ask why the Parade so soon after Irma. Perhaps it would have been better to adjourn it a month to get Key West in better shape.

Simple, my friends. Money.

A proper reason this year at this time. Key West’s labor force primarily consists of waiters, waitresses, bartenders and kitchen help. They all took a beating because of Irma. Closed for the storm. Most did not reopen right away. Some still not open. Damage too extensive. The workers without income.

Rent became due. Most scraped to meet the rent. Very expensive to rent in Key West. Extremely. some landlords got piggish immediately. Rose their rents $300-700 a month. Levels many would not be able to meet. Many of the waiters, etc. have left Key West since Irma. They simply could no longer afford to live here.

Therein lies the reason Fantasy Fest was pushed. Workers for the hotels, restaurants, and bars were in need of the cash infusion.

Two things have been eating at me the past few days. I did a Facebook live video on one the other day.

The first is Trump and his opioid emergency announcement.  Means nothing unless it is funded. Congress has to authorize the money. Congress is not even talking about it.

A typical Trump move. Make a major announcement. Toss the responsibility/next step to Congress. If Congress fails, Trump cannot be blamed.

Keep in mind also we do not have a Secretary of Health, etc. nor a Drug Czar at the present time. Who is going to run the program?

The other involves Puerto Rico and its power grid. Seventy five percent of Puerto Rico is still without electric power. Some six weeks post Irma.

Three hundred million dollars has been appropriated to get work going to restore electricity.

The contract has been given to Whitefish Energy Holdings. The company two years old.  Two employees, the principals. Located in Whiteface, Montana.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is from Whiteface, Montana.

Something smalls here. As it should. We have a President and his family who are engaged in business dealings world wide. Refusing transparency. Business as usual.

As the saying goes…..What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

I many times reference a happening as “only in Key West.” I have an only in Mississippi one to share.

A young African-American mother was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in Pearl, Mississippi. Her 4 month old baby was with her.

The police checked identities and found the driver and mother had unanswered misdemeanor warrants pending. They were taken into custody.

The baby’s grandmother arrived within minutes at the scene. The police would not turn the  baby over to her. They deemed the baby “abandoned” under the law. the baby became a public charge and was place in a public facility.

The misdemeanor charges were resolved. The mother asked for the return of her child. Judge John Shirley of the Pearl Youth Court said no.

There were pending court costs. Until the court costs were paid, the mother was prohibited any contact with the baby. The baby in the meantime was placed in the custody of the grandmother.

Note, no contact. Even visiting not permitted.

A not for profit got involved. The Solenge MacArthur Justice Center. Went to bat for the mother big time. Publicized what they viewed as a gross miscarriage of justice.

Took 14 months. Mother and child finally reunited. Judge Shirley was forced to resign and the Youth Court was disbanded.

I have a home party to attend at 4. Following which I hope to stop at Kate Miano’s Gardens.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

TOGA PARTY…..WHAT TOGA PARTY?

I was sorely disappointed last night. Toga Party. What Toga Party? Hard to find.

I have been a fan of Toga Party since the mid 1980’s. Merely as a voyeur. For me, fun. Last night, there was little to be voyeured. Very little.

The reasons why two-fold from my perspective.

Irma obviously a contributing factor. Who would want to pay $700-$1,000 a night for a hotel room if Key West was still recovering from Irma?

The other is the leadership of the event. New leadership this year. The former head ran the show for many years. Complaints grew in recent years by certain locals that there was too much nudity, perversion, etc.

The squeaky wheel was heard by the new leadership. Advertising for this year’s event was not to the usual sources. Sexually inclined persons and groups.

Fantasy Fest an adult party. Always has been. People want to show off their bodies, play, etc. Hurts no one. The new leadership better study closely the reasons why this year’s event failed. And not be reluctant to accept responsibility where warranted.

I walked Duval in the usual Toga Party area last night. Sloppy Joe’s, inside and out. I would estimate the crowd no more than one-third of its usual number. Sloppy’s not crowded. Could walk the streets without problem. Duval not closed off. Cars driving through.

I saw no more than 10 persons in toga attire.

The failure of Toga Party probably a combination of Irma and the new leadership looking in the wrong places for attendees.

The Parade is saturday night. Normally 60,000 to 80,000 spectators. Terrific! Not this year. It will be significantly less.

Several years ago, there was another Irma/storm. Fantasy Fest was delayed into early December so Key West would be ready. This year greed dictated otherwise. There was a rush to get ready and hold the event timely. Hotels, bars, merchants, etc. needed the business.

The goose that lays the golden egg seriously hurt this year.Let’s hope it does not die not next.

I saw three sets of bare breasts last night. One at the Chart Room. Bugs Bunny. She and her husband from Kentucky. Breasts spray painted.

The other two on the street in front of Sloppy’s. One young, the other middle aged. Both spray painted.

In previous years, there would be hundreds in various degrees of undress. All having a good time. Even voyeurs like me. I sincerely hope the tradition does not end.

Enjoyed stone crabs again last night at Pier One. I was the only customer. Hovi the bartender. From Romania. Has been in Key West 5 years.

The Chart Room had about 15 minutes of activity. Otherwise, few customers.

Met Larry and Cindy. We are neighbors! They live on the golf course, also.

We chatted quite a while. Canadians. Sarnie, Ontario. Sounded like they have a family business. Mechanical contracting. Cindy serves as bookkeeper for the business.

Proud parents of two children and two grandchildren.

Liked them both. Hope to develop a relationship with them.

Problems developing post Irma. To be expected. Not everything works perfectly following a disaster like Irma.

The Monroe County School System announced that 320 students are homeless as a result of Irma. Many would not be had the City fathers and FEMA decided that the Irma homeless could no longer stay in local hotels paid by FEMA following last sunday. It was Fantasy Fest time. Time to make real money! Which I suspect will not be the case when the numbers are released.

If the kids are homeless, the parents also. Where are they living? In cars, trucks, mangroves and under the bridges.

Shame on us all!

Monroe County has requested 9,200 trailers. FEMA provides them. As of yesterday, 10 had arrived.

FEMA advises it only has 1,000 trailers allocated for the entire State of Florida.

How will the problem be solved? Will it be solved?

Enjoy your day!