POT SMOKE vs. TOBACCO SMOKE

I smoked my first cigarette back in high school. And my second and third, etc. The high school was Catholic and run by Sisters of Charity. Smoking strictly prohibited, of course.

When the good nuns caught us sneaking a smoke, we were forced to learn a little diddy which we were compelled to recite each time caught: The cigarette is a dirty weed and from it the Devil doth proceed.

I was reading this week’s Jasper Jottings. A Manhattan alumni news journal published weekly by John Reinke. An e-mail from a 1973 grad got into smoking. Close to what I had to memorize in 1950. With pot added. I paraphrase: Pot smoke created by God and good for us, tobacco smoke created by Satan and will kill us.

We did not know what pot was in 1950. Marijuana? Never heard the word till I was in college. Had not yet gained popularity. Pot hit big time in the 1960’s and 70’s. Now being legalized.

A…..You’ve come a long way Charlie Brown!

I wrote about the royal wedding yesterday. All good thoughts. Yet last night when out and about, I was confronted by racist statements from several persons I ran into. As with tobacco smoke, racism adversely affects our country.

Will we ever be free of it?

Chart Room first last night. John bartending. The new John. Has been working three weeks now. Different from the other John. Both bartenders named John. The new John has returned to Key West after several years in Palm Springs.

Ran into Don and Linda from Fishkill again. Enjoying celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary.

Met Mark and Amy from Charlotte. Mark a physician’s assistant, Amy a school principal. Fun people.

Walked over to the Hot Tin Roof for dinner.

Sat next to Clare at the bar. The bartender introduced us. She and her husband have had a home on Ash Street for years. I till recently in Key Haven for 21 years. We never met before. We discussed how often it happens. Meeting other long time Key Westers. Difficult to understand why many locals do not meet earlier. The island is small.

Hot Tin Roof has added a trio and singer Saturday nights. Great music. The only problem is the ensemble takes up a third of the room.

Must be successful. The bar was packed with people standing listening to the group.

Trump was on his soap box yesterday beating the hell out of Amazon and how it is purportedly bleeding the Post Office economically. Nothing is farther from the truth. Amazon package delivering is the Post Office’s life line. It keeps the Post Office afloat. A moneymaker.

I wrote a lengthy column on the subject a few weeks ago in KONK Life.

Trump is on a personal tirade. Not knowing what he is talking about. He has an ax to grind with Amazon’s owner who also owns the Washington Post. Trump does not like the way the Washington Post reports his antics.

Whether a Trump fan is immaterial. It is wrong to use the power of the Presidency to try to harm or destroy one who disagrees with you. Especially when the facts relied on are wrong to begin with.

There is a new glamour product on the market. Popularly referred to as a penis facial. A serum used in making the product is derived from the foreskin of new born Korean babies.

Its use on the rise. Two well known movie stars using it and shouting how it makes their skin glow like that of a new born baby. They have no financial involvement with the product. Thrilled however with what it is doing for their fifty year old faces.

One problem is getting enough foreskins to make the serum. Such concerns me. Circumcision is not medically required nor that common worldwide. The last thing desired is the demand for foreskins does not turn into an organ type selling thing.

We know historically that the Jewish faith circumcise new born males. I suspect it is part of their tradition because of disease centuries ago that could have plagued the new born males.

In reading about the cosmetic, I learned two things I did not know. First, circumcision was introduced in English speaking countries in the late 1800’s. To control or prevent masturbation.

How terrible. The circumcision, not the masturbation.

The need for male circumcision was compared to female circumcision which had been ongoing in some societies for centuries. The female’s clitoris and labia were removed. To prevent female masturbation.

With male baby circumcision these days, anesthesia is not used. I thought it was because a 3-4 day old baby boy could not feel pain down there when the procedure was done. Not the case. The baby feels pain! Anesthesia is not used because of possible dangers of interactions in the infant.

It is pouring like hell at the moment. Actually for the last 20 minutes. Hurricane/monsoon type rain. Almost every day. Something strange. This is not the rainy season.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

SANCTIONS BOTH AVOID AND LEAD TO WAR

Sanctions are constantly in the news. One country does something another country disagrees with and sanctions come into play. Bank accounts seized, shipping prohibited, etc. Cause the offending country to suffer for its wrongdoing.

Sanctions are so prevalent these days that many have come to believe it is a way to avoid war.

I believe such is the case only because a war has not yet occurred.

History repeats itself. We tend to forget.

On this day in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt seized all Japanese assets in the United States in retaliation for Japan’s occupation of French-Indo China. As was intended, the result hurt Japan deeply. Japan lost three quarters of its overseas trade and 88 percent of its imported oil.

War was inevitable. Japan could not tolerate the sanctions. Especially the loss of 88 percent of its imported oil. Japan had no oil except that which it imported. Japan’s industrial death was imminent.

Japan in effect said screw you to the U.S. The result Pearl Harbor a little more than four months later.

Two strange occurrences yesterday.

Three weeks ago, I filed a change of address with the Post Office. I am getting mail at my new address. Also, at my old address.

Went to the downtown Post Office to straighten the mater out. I was told by the clerk it could not be happening. I calmly explained again it was. No way, I was told.

It became a problem for the supervisor to deal with. No supervisor. He was somewhere else.

I have to return today.

Next stop was Walgreens. Bought a large container of Bayer Aspirin. Take a whole pill a day for my heart.

When I got home and opened the bottle, the foil seal was broken and completely open. When I return to Walgreens today for an exchange, will I be told it could not happen?

A change of pace podcast last night. Trump has been overwhelming my show as it has the media. There are other stories to be told. Decided to do a limited Trump comment and the rest of the show human events of the past few days world wide.

Because of yesterday happenings, I ended up with three Trump/political observations. However, I did finish with 8 non Trump stories.

I hope that those of you who listened to Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou enjoyed the change of pace.

Being the political animal I am, I want to briefly share with you the three political observations.

Jared Kushner’s testimony has been described by some in the examining rooms as truthful and forthcoming. I would not believe Kushner and his Trump in laws on a stack of Bibles. Liars one and all. It is the nature of the beast. The conclusion of the various investigations will substantiate they speak with forked tongues.

The Democrats came out with a Better Deal slogan yesterday. Sucks! My recommendation is that they hire a professional PR firm to provide a today slogan. Also, it is time for Pelosi and Schumer to go. It is a new day. Their time has passed. Voters world wide have shown in recent elections the desire for new and more youthful faces.

Finally, John McCain. A man I respect and admire. But yesterday he did not go far enough in his comments to the Senate.

McCain has cancer of the brain. Operations, doctors, medicines, etc. His medical bills will be high. Overwhelming if no insurance. He has insurance, however. Ergo, he has a chance to be cured, to survive.

What of the 32 million who will have no insurance if Obamacare is dumped? They will not have the chance to maybe have their lives saved.

It was McCain’s moment. He should have said, I have changed my mind. I stand with those who do not want to repeal, or repeal and replace. Lets fix Obamacare and move on.

He did not.

Historical paths cross.

William Faulkner lived a period of his life in Key West. As did Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway wrote To Have and To Hold. Faulkner went to Hollywood and wrote the screen script for To Have and To Hold. Both the novel and the movie were gigantic successes. Humphrey Bogart starred in the movie.

In the early 1860’s, a U.S. Navy vessel captured a slave ship. It delivered the 1,432 Africans aboard to Key West. Two hundred ninety-four died while here. The remaining Africans were sent to Libya.

The 294 who died were buried somewhere in Key West. No one certain as to the exact spot till several years ago.

The bodies were discovered buried on portions of Higgs Beach and nearby. A plaque has been placed on the beach noting their burial place. Each year, a service is held at the site in their honor.

Have to hustle. A heart test scheduled for 1.

Enjoy your day!

LE PETIT PARIS

I discovered a new place! Le Petit Paris. A tiny restaurant on Duval. Dining inside and out. The outside tables a taste of Paris.

My mid afternoon lunch yesterday absolutely delicious. Lobster Benedict. Served by a cheerful pretty waitress. Cooked obviously by a skilled chef. Though I did not meet him, I testify to the quality based on what I ate.

I would have enjoyed meeting the chef. I understand he is the owner, also. Next time.

The menu suggested meals ranging from breakfast to lunch to dinner. Mouth watering.

Prices neither cheap nor expensive. Down the middle.

I intend to return. Soon!

There will be no blog tomorrow and perhaps wednesday. Maybe not till thursday. I am moving. Reducing the size of my home. From 3,600 square feet to 1,600.

When I bought my Key West home 19 years ago, I had a wife, 4 children and 7 grandchildren. Wife no more. Children and grandkids do their own thing. It’s all alone by the telephone for me.

I am moving to the Golf Course. The Sanctuary. A single two story home. Huge front porch. Small yard surrounded by an 8 foot wall. Jacuzzi in the corner. Waterwise, I am downsizing also. From ocean to jacuzzi.

Comcast screwed me up today. Turned off my internet, TV and land line at 5:30. Supposed to be done tomorrow.

Donna saved my ass! She is concierge at the Fairfield. I am in Fairfield’s lobby working.

First time in Fairfield. A modestly priced hotel. Gorgeous lobby! Looks like a good place to stay.

Met Mike Kelly and Eric Bove. Mike is the general manager of Fairfield and three other new hotels on the Boulevard. Called The Keys Collection. Eric general manager of the Fairfield.

Comcast hookup at the new house wednesday or thursday.

It is good for me to be out with the people as I describe it. I rarely run into what other people come up against.

Gross impoliteness this morning! Two places.

Comcast the first. Nothing is ever easy with them. I was returning the old equipment. Everything else done in a 3 hour phone call friday.

The woman simply was impolite. Did not care about me or my problems.

I observed everyone was treated in a similar fashion.

Then the Post Office.

I have found in the years since the Post Office went private, most of the employees don’t care. They have an attitude about them

All I wanted to do was file a change of address  card. The place was not busy. Empty most of the time.

I was boring the counter person. She was bothered answering my questions. Handed me a package and said do it.

The Post Office must make a ton of money off advertisements. There had to be a good dozen in the packet. Filled out the wrong form. Not an advertisement. It looked like the right one.

I had a concern. Back to the counter asking if I had done it properly. I had not. She looked at me as if I was an idiot. Bothering her. No other customers at the time.

I miss the days when someone else took care of Comcast, Post Office and other problems. I am an 81 year old inexperienced man when it comes to every day mundane things.

On top of which, I am tired. Two days of packing. Anna working with me. The upstairs air conditioning went kaput late saturday. Fun packing the upstairs!

I apologize for complaining. Needed to vent.

Let me close with something I do not understand.

The U.S. Supreme Court rendered an intermediate decision with regard to the Trump travel ban law. A victory for Trump. The Court is going to render a full decision in the Fall. Suggests to me the Court will go with Trump again.

I disagree with the decision. My country is falling apart. Not just because of one decision. In most respects.

In addition to no blog for a couple of days, I will not be able to do Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou tomorrow night. Need my land line. I suspect I will be getting the Facebook videos in. Done on the cell phone.

Enjoy your day!

 

Congress To Blame For Post Office Debt

Trump has decided the Post Office is in debt. He is correct. One hundred billion dollars plus in debt. He blames Amazon who contracts with the Post Office for many of its deliveries. Big dollars to the Post Office. In 2017, $7 billion. In reality, Amazon’s $7 billion is the Post Office’s life line.

 

The Post Office of course gives Amazon a discount. Any business that gets that volume of work provides a discount. The Post Office still makes a significant profit.

 

The real reason Trump is on Amazon’s ass is because the owner of Amazon also owns the Washington Post. The Washington Post is constantly investigating Trump’s activities. Trump is trying to get even with the Post by going after Amazon.

 

Last thursday, Trump announced he had created a task force to study the Post Office’s financial problems. Trump continues to assert the Post Office’s problems arise because of pricing in the package delivery market.

 

Trump has failed to do his homework.

 

Up through 2005, the Post Office was debt free. Made money. Understand the Post Office is set up to receive no tax dollars. It subsidizes itself by revenues from postage and services.

 

The Post Office was a cash cow. Congress recognized it. Congress devised a scheme whereby certain Post Office funds could be channeled into the national fund. To pay various government obligations.

 

In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act which was signed into law. It set up a system that would bankrupt any business.

 

The law mandated payments to pre-fund health care benefits for postal retirees – 75 years into the future. To make it even worse, the total of the payments had to be paid in 10 years. Project costs 75 years, but pay full amount in 10 years. The cash cow got fatter.

 

The law is quirky. Experts say full of accounting gimmickry. An example being the law only required pre-funding to actual current and past employees at the time of its passage in 2006. Theoretically, it has to include new entrants beyond that date and/or not born yet for accounting purposes. Making the program even more onerous.

 

Note that the Post Office is the only enterprise in America required by law to pre-fund future retiree healthcare benefits.

 

The new law required the Post Office to pay roughly $5.5 billion a year in pre-funded benefits. Any wonder why the Post Office was solvent in 2005 and in debt 2 years later.

 

A point was reached where the Post Office could not pay the pre-funded dollars. The ten years ended 2016. However at that time instead of 100 percent prefunded, only 49 percent had been paid. The Post Office owes the rest.

 

The Post Officewas required to pay, if it could, $115 million per month. Tough!

 

The solution is to change the law. Perhaps lower the amount. Even better, get off pre-funding and go to pay as you go like everyone else.

MAIL DELIVERY 3Xs A DAY

Key West is presently battling whether to have garbage pick ups once or twice a week. There was a time when the number of times for anything was generous.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section notes that on this day in 1901, the Post Office began making deliveries three times a day. Early morning, mid day and late afternoon.

How things change!

Love Rick Boettger. He calls them as he sees ’em. In an article in E-Blast this morning titled The Big Story / Crash or Burn, he indicates how difficult it is to do business in Key West. A tough town to get a business started. Even tougher to stay in business.

Rick had a statement I would like to share…..Key West is a place to spend money you made somewhere else.

How true!

Starbuck’s on the Boulevard finally underway. Checkers building being demolished. I look forward to the new Starbuck’s. I love to sit inside, sip coffee, and read. The new Starbuck’s will provide that convenience.

The Citizen this morning also noted that Key West will receive its share of the BP settlement. $2.7 million. Allegedly for economic damages suffered during the spill. The oil never reached Key West. For business loss during that period because people were afraid to visit. They thought the oil would reach Key West beaches.

The $2.7 million even more interesting since earlier paper work by the City indicated Key West had only lost $630,00.

BP settlements of this nature are a rip off! I can’t fault the City for taking the money. However, it should never have been available. At some distant point following the spill, by law or regulation, rules came down permitting the type of losses to be compensated out of a pool of money made available for such purpose. The law/regs were broadly drawn. Did incorporate losses as the City was paid for.

Such does not make the payment right. Either to Key West or anyone else. Even saying BP has a lot of money does not make it correct.

Dinner at Roostica last night before my blog talk radio show. Met a new waitress. Olga. A nice lady.

Did my blog talk radio show later in the evening. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Three topics hit. How the U.S. as a society has lost its way, a Greece update suggesting watch out for the Neo-Nazi party, and my thoughts re the Iranian agreement. All interesting! Controversial in some respects.

Anna. Greece. Anna still on Santorini. Santorini continues to be packed with tourists. This week Chinese, Japanese and English. Spending money like crazy. Everything very expensive.

She wanted to spend time on my favorite island, Amorgos. Not going. Could not get a room. Amazing! Plus, all ATM machines are bare. No cash money available on Amorgos.

The show goes on! The Greece/Eurounion conflict not concluded. The next few days will reveal much. Parliament votes today whether to accept the offer. The unions are supposedly on a 24 hour strike today. No one working. Athens shut down if the called for strike successful.

Various media sources suggest Merkel may have hurt herself big time. She exercised raw “naked power.” Germany may win today. However the Greeks and other European nations will remember Greece’s treatment. What goes around, comes around. Germany some day will stand with hat in hand. Germany’s treatment at that time may be as harsh as Greece’s this time.

Enjoy your day!