83rd BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY’S NEWS

My 83rd birthday came and went too soon. Hopefully, I will be here to celebrate my 84th next year. Sounds foreboding. There is always a concern at this age.

A nice day.

The many Happy Birthdays received appreciated. The internet a wonderful thing. Keeps us connected and remembering each other.

Lisa and family woke me early. All on the phone singing Happy Birthday Poppa! A good way to begin the day.

Celebration time not over. I am having dinner with Lisa and the family tonight. By special request, my cake will be white with chocolate frosting.

Last night, Donna and Terri took me to dinner. We celebrated at Tavern ‘n Town. George and Artie were with us. A good time.

It was still early when dinner ended. Decided to stop at the Chart Room for a drink. Glad I did. Ran into Dorothy Downs. We talked quite a while.

Dorothy’s husband Maurice passed on last year. He was a Miami orthodontist. They had homes in Miami and Key West.

In previous meetings, we never chatted more than five minutes. Last night, quite a while. Turned out to be fortuitous. Dorothy discovered I was a nice guy. She told me she always thought I was arrogant. I probably was. Time softens us.

Several times yesterday, I heard people talk about the new hurricane on its way. Beryl.

I can see concern is going to set in early this hurricane season. Irma left people with a touch of fear.

Beryl is not coming anywhere near Key West. It has been described by the weather folk as a tiny one. About 1,000 miles south of the Lesser Antilles. It may run over Puerto Rico. Should not be a problem. Predicted to be winds of 40 mph at that time.

This morning’s Key West Citizen notes in its Keys History section that the John Kennedy World War II movie PT-109 was being filmed at Munson Island. Cliff Robertson played the title role.

Let me add some additional local color. Munson Island is today known as Little Palm Island. One of the world’s most famous and expensive resorts. It was wiped out by Irma and is still under reconstruction. It will return!

The island at the time was owned by John Spottswood. A Key West legendary figure. Sheriff and State Senator for many years.

President Kennedy was in Key West checking out fortifications during the Cuban missile crisis. Spottswood accompanied him. They were already friends. Hollywood had decided to do the movie. A search for a location was underway. Spottswood suggested Munson Island. The rest is history.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned. About time. He probably contributed to the swamp condition more than any other Trump appointee.

The man replacing him not much better. Andrew Wheeler. Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist. He spent much time working for Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla). Inhofe denies climate change. Refuses to accept it exists.

Trump has appointed another winner!

The blind cannot see. Or if sight is possible, then as Forrest Gump   was wont to say…..stupid is as stupid does. I refer to the tariff war with China. Should not be. The irresponsible brain child of Donald Trump.

In one year’s time or less, two major U.S. industries will take a big hit economically. Jobs lost big time. Soybeans and lobsters.

The U.S. is the biggest supplier of soybeans to China. Several farm States depend on selling their soybeans to China. China’s attitude is don’t screw with us. China is already entering into agreements to purchase soybeans from Brazil.

China is a major importer of U.S. lobsters. Multi-millions of dollars involved. Maine and Florida lobsters. The lobster industry will be destroyed. This includes Florida’s spiny lobsters. Many are fished off the Keys.

I have said this before and repeat it again. Recall when Hoover became President. The stock market was at an all time high. Booming. Hoover for some unfathomable reason decided the U.S. should impose tariffs with regard to certain countries. Within one year, the Great Depression of 1929 was upon us.

Expect no less from what Trump has initiated.

Water is sacred. Not enough. Insufficient concern unfortunately. The U.S. must watch how it uses its water.

Recall several years ago California. Bottled water companies were buying municipal water big time. The companies got a break cost wise because they were buying in bulk. Homeowners paid a hell of a lot more for water than the bottled water companies per unit.

Governor Brown has been working on the problem.

Today, the problem has reared its ugly head in Chiapas, Mexico. Coca Cola the culprit. Coca Cola bottles and sells water.

Wells are the primary source for water. Homeowners dig down only so far. Accustomed to getting all the water they needed. Coca Cola comes in and digs wells deeper. Significantly deeper. Cause the homeowner wells to go dry.

Coca Cola’s bottled water has now become the water supply for homeowners.

The following sickening. Occurred in a Houston school. Twenty two sixth grade girls were in a music class. Fifty dollars was missing. School administrative officers were called in. A resource officer, also.

The resource officer said, “Girls like to hide things in their bras and panties.”

A strip search followed. Each girl was separately taken into  a bathroom with a nurse. The nurse checked around the panty waistbands, loosened bras, and lifted the girl’s shirts so that the young ladies were exposed shoulder to waist.

Parents were never called for permission. Some of the girls asked to call their mothers first and were denied permission.

What possessed the principal. assistant principal, nurse and resource officer is beyond me. Some things your gut tells you cannot be done.

The girls sued. The court threw out their case. Said the facts did not permit a lawsuit. An appellate court decided otherwise this week. Ok to sue the bastards! Not reported in such indelicate language, of course.

My KONK Life column is on the street. This weeks title: Hurricanes and Key West Cemeteries. Irma got me into hurricanes with both feet.

BOB says you must wait another day.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

PROVERB 17: 7 RE A RULER’S LYING LIPS

President Trump lies almost every day. The truth escapes him. Those who do not agree refuse to see that which is blatantly before them.

Church going I am not. Religious I am.

The Ninth Commandment says…..Thou shalt not lie.

Proverb 17:7 appears to have been written in anticipation of a Trump Presidency…..Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool – how much worse lying lips to a ruler.

Yascha Mousk wrote a New York Times Op-Ed recently re Trump. Re his overall conduct.

Mousk’s message….. Beware!

She sees a democratic dissolution in the works, the beginning of authoritarianism. She warns the demise of democracy is gradual and easy to overlook.

Secretary of State Tillerson recently committed a difficult to understand act. He rejected $80 million in the House approved budget for his Department. The purpose of the $80 million to counter propaganda emanating from ISIS and Russia. ISIS terrorist propaganda and Russia’s disinformation.

Tillerson’s reason: He did not wish to aggravate Russia.

The triangle at the intersection of US 1 and the Boulevards is under reconstruction to correct errors made in the original planning. Projected as a 2-3 month job. I forget which.

My complaint is no one is working. The State started the job 3 weeks ago. Activity the first week. Since then, next to nothing. No one working.

Near the end date per the contract, the contractor will tell the State more time required. Which, of course, will result in additional dollars.

The people never win.

Busy afternoon yesterday. Walgreens to pick up a new water pill prescription. Hopefully my ankles will look normal in a few days. Then to Publix. Cupboard bare again.

Returned home. Fine tuned last night’s blog talk radio show.

Enjoyed doing the show. Key topic involved jail prisoners/inmates doing work enuring to the benefit of the State or privately run jailers with little or no benefit to those performing the work.

The 13th Amendment adopted in 1865 freed the slaves, except persons jailed for crimes. Ergo, legal.

Big Latch on Day friday. Part of International Breast Feeding Week. Locally, mothers and babies are asked to join together at the Keys-Eco-Discovery Center at 10 am. Babies all drink at the same time!

John Kennedy was a Lieutenant JG on August 1, 1943. His vessel, PT-109, was sunk by the Japanese. He and his men spent several days on an island waiting rescue. Kennedy’s acts during that time heroic.

In 1962, a movie was to be made regarding the episode. Kennedy was in Key West. With him was Sheriff John Spottswood. Later to be a State Senator.

The location for the filming had not yet been decided. Hollywood was searching for an island.

Spottswood owned Little Munson Island at the time. He suggested Munson to Kennedy. Munson was selected to be the site for the movie.

Little Munson Island no longer known as such. Today, it is the world famous resort Little Palm Key.

Hackley reports Black Matilda better. Not returned home yet. Yellow fever still a concern. She must be completely recovered.

Yellow fever comparable to a plague in 1856. At the same time Black Matilda was sick, a vessel arrived. The steward and mate down with yellow fever. The ship was quarantined at anchor.

Inga is celebrating her 20th anniversary as a drag queen at Aqua. Loved by all! Inga’s real life person Roger Hultman.

Have to hustle. Manicure in an hour.

Enjoy your day!

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!

 

EDWARD, A HOMELESS PERSON

Today’s comments/reflections interesting. One involves lunch with a homeless person yesterday. The other lunch with Harry Truman 56 years ago.

Stopped at the Cuban Coffee Queen for lunch yesterday. Unusually busy. Wanted to sit. Required sharing. Not normal. I saw a man sitting alone. Asked if I could sit at his table. No problem.

His name Edward.

The man homeless. No question about it. Very few teeth. Dirty. clothes, hands and face.  His aged back pack on the seat next to him. His equally disheveled bicycle on the other side of the rail

I did not wish to bother him. Began reading the newspapers. He began the conversation by asking who I supported in the election. We spent the next 5 minutes discussing Trump and Hillary. Then he got into what I thought would develop into an interesting conversation.

It never did. For the next 20 minutes, he was stuck in the 1960s. His thoughts all over the place. However never leaving the 1960s.

I suspect Edward was a Vietnam vet.

Edward was eating. A sandwich and beer. I sensed the lunch was not a normal event. His beer was warm. I took the bottle to the bar to swap it for a cold one for him. No cold beer.

I had to leave. Handed him a $20 bill and said it was for tomorrow’s lunch.

Before lunch, I was at the heart doctor’s office. A test to see if I have blood clots in my legs. The person running the test said worry not. None and my blood flow was terrific. Like that of a young man.

I do not understand. The catheterization doctor said my veins and arteries were beautiful. The test operator yesterday. indicated basically the same. Why am I having problems?

Enjoyed doing last night’s blog talk radio show. Threw in a bit of local color at the beginning.

I was watching PT 109 before my show. John Kennedy’s World War II experience. I shared with my listeners that the movie had been filmed on what is now Little Palm Island. Twenty five miles north of Key West.

Kennedy was in Key West during the Cuban missile crisis. Was with then State Senator or Sheriff John Spottswood. Spottswood said that he knew a movie was to be made re Kennedy’s war experience. Told Kennedy he had the island for the movie. He owned the island at the time that is now Little Palm Island.

Spottswood’s island did become the site for the movie.

I slipped in the local color to ease up on the heavy politics of the past week. I did dwell at length on the Comey matter, however. Also spent some time talking about a new child paralysis sweeping the country and not being discussed.

Today easy. A pleasurable day awaits. A manicure at one and dinner tonight with Liz. Liz is cooking. French Lasagna – Ercole.

Received a comment today asking why sometimes no or limited politics in the blog. The answer simple. Some days I have had my fill of politics. I assume some of my readers, also. Another reason is the blog is supposed to be about My Life in Key West. Politics have become an add on.

Key West loves Harry Truman and Harry Truman loved Key West.

On this day in 1948, Truman defeated Dewey for President.

Truman the underdog. No one expected him to win. The Chicago Tribune newspaper that hit the stands before all the votes had been counted read: Dewey Defeats Truman.

I had two connections with Truman and the election.

It was 1948. Truman campaigning. Whistle stop campaigning in those days. From the rear platform of a train.

I was in the eighth grade. Rode my bike to the railroad station. Pulled up in front ahead of the crowd. Truman five feet away.

I was in awe.

The next time was 1960. Twenty two years later. Truman was visiting Syracuse University for two days. Giving talks, etc. One scheduled event was Truman having a private lunch with who were purported to be the 12 outstanding students on campus. Twelve out of 35,000.

I was picked to be one of the 12. I was excited. It was my last year in law school.

Seats for lunch were assigned. Mine was next to Truman on his right.

We had two hours with him. Spectacular! Exciting!

Truman talked about his 1948 victory.

He had a recording of H. V. Caltenborn revealing the results of the election. A national radio personality. Distinct voice. Caltenborn was announcing Truman’s defeat. Truman loved playing the recording!

Then Truman held up a copy of the Chicago Tribune announcing his defeat. His laugh filled the room.

Next, I would be writing installment 4 re the Key West Rotary history. My notes prepared. Covers only one year. However would run at least 200 words. Making this blog the longest ever.

I am holding it for tomorrow. I must discipline myself to write about fewer things or perhaps in less words than I do.

Keep in mind what I am writing about re the Rotary is true history. Happenings 200 years ago. Not only a different time. A different world.

Two items shared tomorrow prove the point.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE

Dallas last night. St. Anthony and Baton Rouge a few days earlier. Multiple black killings by police officers the past several years.

You know the facts. I want to share a few sayings that from my perspective apply to the Dallas killings: Violence begets violence. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You hit me, I’m going to hit you back harder. What goes around, comes around.

The problem is now totally out of hand.

One positive: Cell phone cameras.

A couple of items involving Key West notables.

Ernest Hemingway. Beloved Key West resident for ten years. Hemingway was wounded this day in 1918. Severely wounded. He was 18 years old. An ambulance driver with the Red Cross. Stationed on the Italian-Austrian front.

A mortar shell landed nearby. Some were killed, others wounded. Though severely wounded, Hemingway carried one of the other wounded out of danger. Hemingway had no recollection of the event afterwards. The Italian government awarded him a medal for valor.

John Spottswood. A Key West icon. His name will be remembered for all time as one of those who made Key West great.

Spottswood was a four term sheriff and a four term state senator. Also, a big Democrat. He owned at one time the Casa Marina and La Concha hotels.

He fathered four sons. All successful business persons today. All contributors to the Key West scene.

I only know one. Robert Spottswood. And, his wife Elena. Two better people do not exist. First class in every respect.

Interestingly, the Spotswoods today own the Marriott Beachside. One of Key West’s finest hotels. Robert is responsible for the management of the Marriott Beachside.

PT-109 was being filmed in 1962. The story of John Kennedy during World War II. The movie was filmed on Munson Island. Today known as Little Palm Island.

John Spottswood owned Munson Island at the time.

As a side note, Cliff Robertson played Kennedy. Many years later, I was privileged to meet Robertson. He was ancient in appearance. Clear in mind. Dapperly dressed.

He was in Key West to head up an international fund raiser for the Mel Fisher Museum. He was Honorary Chairman.

Oxitec. The British company that wants to test their genetically modified mosquitoes in Key Haven. They found another guinea pig. The Cayman Islands. The testing begins next week.

This does not mean the Key Haven test is dead. Don’t know.

Yesterday morning, it was a haircut with Lori. Her husband’s name is Jamie.

Then a walk. I did it in Home Depot. Air conditioned. The humidity outside too heavy.

My column in KONK Life this week is Who Pays for Booze and Balloons? The financing of national political conventions. It is estimated each convention will cost $100 million this year.

The column hit the stands yesterday. It was linked to my Key West Lou website this morning. www.keywestlou.com. It also was run in this morning’s KONK E-Blast.

Enjoy your day!