“I’LL PROBABLY GO THE SAME WAY”

 

Fifty seven years ago today. July 2, 1961. A sad day.

Ernest Hemingway committed suicide. At his then home in Sun Valley, Idaho.

One of the greats in the annals of literary history. A favorite son of Key West.

Hemingway’s father Dr. Clarence Hemingway committed suicide many years earlier. Hemingway said at the time: “I’ll probably go the same way.”

A quiet evening last night. A drink at the Chart Room and grocery shopping at Publix. The refrigerator was empty again.

BOB returns. The Bum Farto saga continued.

Authorities did not initially pay attention to drug dealing in Key West. Farto and friends became aware. He and some Bubba friends decided to make some easy money.

Farto fixed up El Jefe and his personal appearance. What he was doing became open and notorious. El Jefe was lime green to begin and carried a sign with El Jefe on it. Farto added a bright gold eagle to the hood, together with reflective glass and two sawed off shotguns.

He uniformed himself. He wore a shocking pink uniform, rose colored glasses, and a generous helping of gold jewelry.

Farto was on the way! His new career took off! Drug dealer!

Ssles and deliveries were made from El Jefe. The drugs secreted in McDonald lunch bags and pizza boxes.

Dealing drugs did not interfere with Farto continuing his regular job as Fire Chief.

The operation expanded. Thirty some odd fellow Key West citizens became involved. None, including Farto, were Mafia types. They merely happened upon an easy way to make money and said why not. Never seriously considering the consequences.

Federal authorities became aware. No one sure how. The flamboyant manner in which Farto was doing business? Someone squealed? The answer not known.

There was a massive arrest by authorities. Thirty in all. Farto included. Referred to as the Big Bubba Bust.

The timing had one inconvenient factor. Key West’s primary bail bondsman was among those arrested. The only other bondsman was out of town on vacation.

Who was going to bail these good citizens of Key West out of jail?

The bonding company Bankers Casualty Insurance Company became involved. Probably because they did not want to lose all the money they could make bonding thirty good and true men out of jail. The Company arranged for the release of the bondsman who in turn bailed out the remaining 29 defendants.

The best is yet to come.

To be continued…..

ICE is going to become well known to the American people. Some have begun referring to ICE as Trump’s private army. A scary thought.

My immediate concern is where are the babies and girls? Yesterday, photos of some of the girls were shown. Where are they? Where are the babies? What is going on? Time to open the doors and let the media and public in. I fear something bad has occurred.

On this day in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act. A monumental moment!

Color would no longer be an issue. Did not work out that way. Things are better. However, race still an issue in our country. Trump I suspect a racist.

We have a long way to go.

On this day in 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died some 80 days later. His doctors killed him, not the assassin who shot him.

A few yeas ago, I wrote a KONK Life column on the topic. I asked Sloan this morning to dig it out. If she finds it, I plan on running the column as tomorrow’s blog adding only a brief introduction.

The moment of truth is upon us. The truth re Trump’s use of tariffs to enhance the U.S. economically.

Yesterday, Canada began adding new tariffs totaling $12.6 billion on U.S. products. China begins friday when it will add new tariffs totaling $34 billion. U.S. soybean farmers are going to be hit big time. China’s tariffs are being imposed on the same day the U.S. is adding $34 billion on Chinese goods.

Harley-Davidson has already said it is moving a significant number of its production lines out of the U.S. because of the tariffs. Nine thousand jobs will be gone.

General Motors and Polaris warned in recent days that they may have to take certain of their businesses overseas.

The largest U.S. nail manufacturer, Mid-Continental Nail, announced it has laid off 60 employees already because of the tariffs. The Company further advised that if something is not done to correct the situation, it will be out of business by Labor Day.

Helicopter assisted escapes from jails becoming commonplace. Forty nine since 1971. Thirty successful, nineteen failed.

Yesterday at a jail outside Paris, Redoine Fain successfully escaped. A stolen helicopter landed inside jail walls, picked up Fain, and were up and away in less than a minute.

Since 1971, seven movies, a number of TV shows, and several books have been written re the “art” of jail helicopter escapes.

Tonight, one of my Key West favorites. Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. I find it relaxing to sit, have a couple of drinks, and sing along with the bartenders.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

POST SUMMIT THOUGHTS

I am addicted to politics and world events. I am paying for it this morning. I remained awake most of the night watching the Singapore Summit. Trump’s press conference was 4 am.

My first thought is I should have gone to sleep. I am dead! Laid in bed till 9. Here it is after 11 and I am just beginning the blog. Still have to prepare for tonight’s podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Be awake and sharp while I do the show.

What a day it’s going to be!

Talk is better than fury and fire. Trump and Kim agreed on nothing significant. The joint agreement said nothing. Denuclearization danced around.

However, the two met. They are now friends. Trump invited Kim to Washington. The world’s worst dictator has come front stage. They will engage in telephone chats. Things kumbaya. At least for a while.

Not enough for Trump to win the Nuclear Peace Prize. A meet and greet insufficient. A promise to denuclearize was required. The man who deserves the Prize is Moon Je, President of South Korea. He is the person who got the ball rolling resulting in the Summit.

One final thought. Trump was not ready. He has to prepare for these meetings. He requires a knowledgeable staff to guide him. Trump’s personality, good or bad, insufficient when it comes to the details.

So no misunderstanding exists, I consider the Summit a failure, except that now two leaders have come to know each other and will communicate.

Success may come re nuclear weapons. Down the road, however.

History tells us of a major success that began as a failure.

Reagan and Gorbachev met in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1987. They were unable to agree on anything of importance. Nothing was signed. The Summit was considered a failure.

Reagan and Gorbachev however began to talk informally. They now knew each other. Those talks paved the way to the eventual end of the Cold War and at that time the threat of nuclear war.

My KONK Life column several weeks ago was titled: I’m The President, Aren’t I?” Concerned Reagan’s speech at the Berlin Wall. In front of Brandenburg Gate.

Reagan and aides had worked on the speech for several weeks. Reagan wrote what he considered a strong line in the speech: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” His top advisers thought the sentence too strong. Wanted it out. It came out. Reagan would put it back in. This back and forth continued.

It was the morning of the speech. Reagan in a quandary. The line out. He still wanted it in.

He had a conversation with Deputy Chief of Staff Duberstein.

Reagan: I’m the President, aren’t I?

Duberstein: Yes, sir, Mr. President. We’re clear about that.

Reagan: So I get to decide whether the line about tearing the wall                       down stays in?

Duberstein: That’s right, sir. It’s your decision.

Reagan: Then it stays in.

A dramatic moment. I recall watching Reagan on TV. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Two and a half years later, the wall came down.

Big trees from little acorns grow. The Singapore Summit could result in good. Or, not. Time will tell. One thing certain. Trump and Kim must continue to talk if good is to be accomplished.

My podcast tonight. Join me. Nine o’clock.  A quick half hour of my ramblings, sharing thoughts, etc. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

The show must be good. Or at least, interesting. My numbers keep going up. The show has acquired national advertisers.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

JEAN THORNTON RETURNS

Jean Thornton is back! Following a one month European trip with husband Joe.

Jean in Key West for three weeks. Joe back home in Birmingham working.

Ran into Jean last night at the Chart Room. She got in the day before. Took her four days to fly from Birmingham to Key West. Alberto to blame. She made it to Atlanta the first time only to return to Birmingham.

The European trip was grand. They saw everything. Interestingly, never tired.

Jean is the best! She was my hostess for 12 days when I was escaping Irma. She took in 7 evacuees and 3 dogs from Key West.

Jean is Key West famous. She is referred to as the Key West Golden Girl. Some years ago while diving with Mel Fisher, she came upon gold and emeralds. Changed her life!

Love you, Jean! Everyone in Key West does!

The Chart Room busy last night. John bartending. Sheila and Kevin at opposite ends of the bar. Dan and Stephanie came in. From Ohio. they have rented a condo in Key West for a month. We met last week. At the Chart Room, of course.

Tonight, Dan and Stephanie are having a Meet and Greet for candidate Greg Daniels in the courtyard of their residence at 619 Simonton Street. From 5:30-7:30. Drop in and say hello to Greg.

Jean introduced me to Adam. From England. A frequent Key West visitor over the years.

A quick trip to Publix following the Chart Room. Cupboard really  bare. Down to bottled water.

The Key West edition of the Florida Weekly selected Tom Luna as Bartender of the Week. The article refers to Tom as “Key West Royalty.” He is.

Tom has been a Key Wester for 30 years. Well loved by everyone. He is half of the Dueling Bartenders who perform monday nights at Aqua. The rest of the week he is tending bar at the Marker Resort.

I am always learning. Luna’s article revealed to me that Tom initially had been a ballet dancer. Trained and so educated. Performed professionally for years.

I am smiling as I type the following: It would be amusing to see Tom in tights today. He has put on a few pounds.

Alberto did do some damage to southwest Florida beaches. Alberto landed further north. However, the water was in turmoil all the way down to the Keys.

Affected on the beaches were turtle nests. Each containing many eggs. The nesting season began May 1. Some nests were washed away, others drowned in water.

Three brave guys. I refer to the three who kayaked from Cuba to Stock Island. In not the best of weather.

The three left Cuba 7:15 in the morning. An overnighter. They arrived on Stock Island 10:30 the next morning. The trip took 27 hours, 12 minutes, 30 seconds. A new record for solo rowing without stopping and resting.

The weather is getting better. Slowly. Still raining. Not as much. The sun sneaked  in a few times yesterday, but not for long. The day gray.

Weather reports tell us the sun will return for sunday and monday.

I love it when merchants check $100 and $20 bills. Too many counterfeits around. There was a time bills were not involved. Nickels were the big thing in the counterfeiting trade.

Today’s Key West Citizen’s Keys History section reported that on this day in 1890 counterfeit nickels were being passed in Key West.

The Trump/Kim Summit still on for June 12. Kim seems to be bending over backwards to make sure the Summit proceeds.

Stomach diplomacy involved.

Kim is aware of Trump’s love of the American fast burger. He wished he could have had the time to arrange for an American burger chain  to open in Pyongyang. As a “show of good will.”

Two things are certain. Without fail. Death and change.

Change upon us again. Sears announced early this morning it was closing 72 more stores. The list of stores will be posted later in the day.

The mighty fall. I can recall how unbelievable to me it was when years ago Eastern Airlines closed down. A major U.S. airline. How could it be, I thought.

The next major closing that blew me out was Montgomery Ward.

Change is the way of the world.

This week’s KONK Life is on the stands. Pick up a copy. My article this week one of the best I have written. Much research and thought into it. The column: The FBI of Today The Jews of Yesterday.

Have to hustle. A late morning haircut with Lori.

Enjoy your day!

 

WHO PUSHES THE CART?

Yesterday, a Key West day all day. Rare.

The most important event was taking Terri grocery shopping at Publix. Donna is out of town for a week.

Terri could not take herself. She is not driving any more. Her eye sight is failing.

I volunteered.

I had a concern. How was Terri going to maneuver around the store. The first thing that struck me was whether she could direct the cart.

I asked her: Who pushes the cart?

Her response: I PUSH THE CART!

Sorry I asked.

We shopped. Pleasantly.

Next, she wanted to stop at CVS to pick up a prescription. I did not even bother to go in with her. I was confident she could handle it.

Love Terri!

Terri was the third scheduled event for the day. I started earlier with a haircut with Lori. It takes all of 2 minutes to cut my hair. She never wants to charge me. I give her $20.

Ran into Lori later in the evening. I was having dinner at the bar in Roostica. There was Lori and her husband at the end of the bar. A good looking couple. We chatted a bit.

Stopped at Sandy’s Cafe for a quick lunch after the haircut. Sandy’s and Lori’s are like 5-6 doors apart on White Street.

Then, it was Terri’s turn.

I had one more appointment following Terri. A manicure with Tammy.

Tammy always a pleasant experience. Admire what she and her husband have accomplished developing their business Lee Nails.

Business was slow. The season over.

Last night, a lecture sponsored by KWAHS at the Custom House. A history of Duval Street from its beginnings to 1970. I was disappointed. Insufficient detail.

Always a smart ass or two in the audience. Three or four asked questions whose answers were known to God alone.

I was early for the lecture. Ran into Karen who was early also. We went across the street for a drink.

A pleasant half hour. Karen and I have not talked alone that long in 15 years.

Then to the Chart Room.

Packed! John busy!

I stayed a couple of hours. I was the only local. Unusual.

Met two charming ladies from New Jersey. Their 16th year visiting Key  West. Doing it up big. An ocean front room at the Pier House.

One a hospital comptroller. The other, retired.

I am always interested in how people feel about Trump, did they vote for him, etc. Apparently neither I nor the questions are offensive. People are happy to share their thoughts.

The retired woman a Trump supporter. Voted for him and thinks he is doing a great job. Making up for Obama’s failures. She was also thrilled with her retirement account. The market is up.

My stomach was growling. Time to eat. Stopped at Roostica’s on Stock Island on the way home. Great Italian food at reasonable prices. Seated at the bar next to me was Jim Clark. I have not seen him in a while.

We first met at bocce. I used to hate playing his team. Jim good! He shot first for his team. The polina always long, always down the middle. His ball on top of it. I always followed him. Rarely did I get close.

Jim into into social media, advertising, etc. He publishes Best Key West Restaurant Menus.

The weekly KONK Life publishes an internet paper daily. KONK Life E-Blast.

My column this past week in KONK Life was Black Caesar…..Keys Pirate. It was run this morning on E-Blast. Unusual. I suspect the column was a filler.

Sometimes a piece of news leaves you feeling empty. Following is one that did.

Scott Peterson was a Broward County Deputy Sheriff. He was the deputy on the scene at the Parkland high school shooting three months ago. The only one. He heard the gun shots and ran to them. He never opened the door to enter the school. He remained frozen outside.

Peterson recently retired after 25 years on the job. He is 55 years old. His pension $104,000 a year.

We worry about China and trade wars. Meetings at the moment in Washington between the U.S. and China.

China has been struggling with a declining birth rate over the years. The matter has become of concern to the government. One which limited families generally to one child per couple.

All of a sudden, the U.S. is experiencing a similar problem. The birth rate hit an all time low in 2017. Three million eight hundred thousand. Two percent lower than 2016, the lowest ever recorded in 30 years.

The cause is attributed to economics. Although 2008 is behind us, economic uncertainty remains. Such concern does not bode well for those wishing to have children.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

TRUMP MACHIAVELLIAN

On this day in 1469, the Italian political philosopher and writer Nicolo Machiavelli was born. Friend and foe at different times of Cesare Borgia and the Medici family.

Machiavelli most famous effort is The Prince. The book’s hero an amoral calculating tyrant for whom the end justified the means. A man who believed diabolical expediency was proper activity in the world of politics.

“Machiavellian” has come to be recognized as an action undertaken for gain without regard for right or wrong.

Is Trump Machiavellian? If the shoe fits, he should wear it.

I think it does.

A busy yesterday. Sandy’s Cafe for lunch. Ran some errands. Picked up some groceries at Publix.

In my old age, grocery shopping has become an event. Run into friends, make new ones. I become increasingly knowledgeable regarding the increasing excessive cost for food. Some without sufficient means, cut back on their drugs. Others I am sure, food.

Spent a couple of hours last night at the Chart Room. My place! Good friends!

Last night John, Sheila, David, Holly and Kevin.

Kevin steadily recovering from his terrible scooter accident. Looks better. Extensive plastic surgery was required to his face. His skin smooth like a baby’s skin. His mental acuity better. A lucky man.

Kevin complimented his wife Holly extensively. His strength. How she was there for him all the time. I was happy for him.

In my lifetime, I have found many spouses are not helpful or do not stay around when the other is be felled by some adversity. I recall one wife who told me when her husband was into a long term non recoverable illness that she had not contracted for “this” when she married him. She divorced her husband.

This morning’s Citizens’ Voice contained an interesting comment. Reflecting that things change with time.

There was an era when Key Westers wanted ships wrecked on a reef so they could profit from the ship’s cargo recovery. No mention at that time of reef damage.

Today, the profit in such an occurrence arises out of the damage to the reef, not its cargo.

I mentioned last week in this blog and on my podcast that Rudy Giuliani was over the hill as far as representing Trump was concerned. No insult intended to a once a distinguished professional. However, he had not seen the inside of a court room in 20 years.

I was correct. Look at the mess he made on Fox News last night.

On this day in 1946, Japanese War Crimes Trials began in Tokyo. Twenty eight military and governmental officials.

Tokyo was not the only place where Japanese war criminals were tried. The Japanese had committed heinous crimes through out most of Asia. Outside Japan itself, more than 5,000 were tried and found guilty of war crimes. Nine hundred executed.

The 5,000 needed defense counsel. Many U.S. attorneys heeded the call for assistance. One was Robert Miller.

I was fortunate in later years to have Miller as a Professor in  law school. I studied criminal law and evidence under him.

A sharp guy. Extremely intelligent. Benefited his students even more by tying his lectures occasionally into one of the war crime trials he had defended.

Busy day again. Haircut, lunch and a manicure. Who knows what tonight will bring.

Such a life!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

LAST SUPPER…..MINE

I viewed last night’s dinner as my Last Supper. Till tomorrow night. Today, liquids only.

Tomorrow morning, a colonoscopy and endoscopy. I have had them before. The procedure nothing. Knocked out. The prep today the problem. You who have had the procedure understand. Those who have not, your time will come and you will understand.

I enjoyed lamb chops at Antonia’s. The lovely Nicolle bartending. As I think about it, I was enjoying lamb chops last monday at La Trattoria when it became necessary for Carrie the bartender to Heimlich me.

One of the reasons for the procedures tomorrow.

After Antonia’s, It was Publix. I had to buy various liquids to consume today. No food till tomorrow afternoon.

Prior to dinner, I stopped at Aqua. my usual monday evening haunt. Dueling Bartenders. Tom Luna and Rick Dery great. My friend Liz sitting on the other side of the bar enjoying them also. Liz looked great! A new hairdo.

Due to the fun time I shall be enjoying today and tomorrow, some activities/events have been cancelled. My Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou podcast will not be aired this evening. Nor this blog and my Key West Lou Live video tomorrow morning.

Paraphrasing General Douglas MacArthur, I shall return thursday.

Big Pine is 30 miles up the road. North on US 1. Got killed by Irma. Still recovering. Many yet homeless.

Sunday another disaster befell its residents. A raging wildfire. Still burning yesterday. Thought to be under control, but will not be sure until today runs its course.

Smoke covering the Key.

Local, state and federal forestry personnel battling the flames. Fire crews brought in from all the agencies. Including a helicopter which dropped 500 gallons of water at a time.

As of last night, 100 acres already burned. Strong winds encouraged the fire. Dried vegetation left over from Irma fueled it.

A tough fire to fight. The firefighters would put out one area only to find another had begun elsewhere.

Fortunately, losses limited to one house and one garage. No lives.

William Hackley became a part of our lives 2 years ago. Hackley lived and worked in Key West prior to the Civil War. He kept a diary. The Key West Citizen found portions of it and has been reporting Hackley’s life on a daily basis.

I have read 99 percent of the articles. Hackley is moving. Leaving Key West. He has been packing for a couple of weeks. Somewhere along the way, I must have missed a diary entry. I do not know why he is moving.

While in Key West, Hackley and his family enjoyed the life of the well to do. Hackley an attorney holding various positions.

I did a little digging and came up with Hackley’s life after leaving Key West. Only 10 years. He died during a yellow fever epidemic while living in Memphis in 1867.

Hackley left Key West in 1857. Settled in Joliet, Illinois for 6 years. Ran into financial difficulties. Moved to Memphis, Tennessee.

From 1863-1865, Hackley worked as a special agent for the US Treasury and as a cotton agent. In 1865, he became a special agent of the Treasury Department responsible for gathering cotton which had belonged to the Confederate States in Mississippi.

A yellow fever epidemic of great proportion struck in 1867. Hackley infected. He died in Memphis from yellow fever in 1867.

Trump making noises about immigration again. The “caravan” immigrants from Honduras and Guatemala trying to reach the United States. Most seek asylum. They have the necessary paperwork prepared for presentation to US officials at a border point.

Trump announced in recent days that the “caravan” was reaching the Tijuana crossing into the United States. He ordered the Department of Homeland Security to deny them entry.

Typical of Trump, he made it sound like barbarians were at the gate.

Not so.

The initial group leaving Honduras and Guatemala totaled 1,200. Families, many with children and babies. All walking.

The group reaching Tijuana 50. A handful. With papers.

Trump is going to deny them entry without even a proper review of their papers. Some or all just might qualify for entry.

Trump is a big man physically and a big man in every other respect. A giant. He is beating up little people.

Enjoy your day!

.

 

 

 

GOOGLE NEWS SURPRISED ME

Google News surprised me this morning. Carried my blog from yesterday: How To Find My Podcast Tuesday Talk With Key West Lou.

Front page, right hand side, about 3 inches down.

I then went to Google Local News. There it was again!

Each article carried the blog address: .keywestlou.com.

Understand, yesterday’s blog contained no brilliance. I thought people weren’t finding my podcast. Ergo, dedicated the blog to being a direction finder.

I’ll have to do another information piece some day. Yesterday’s got the blog and podcast more exposure than ever before.

Dentist time yesterday afternoon. Dr. Lindner.

I have implants. Ten years now. Expensive and painful when done. Once a year, I visit Dr. Lindner to check them out. Everything, including x-rays. Took about an hour. All was well.

The Chart Room first last night.

John bartending. We chatted about Don and Chris’ wedding. John and I sat together.

John said Bridget was still in town. She was Ollie’s date at the wedding. Ollie flew her in from Chicago. A charming woman. An excellent dancer.

Kevin and Holly at the bar. Kevin looked much better. Every time I see him, the improvement is visible. Kevin had a bad scooter accident.The fact he spent 24 days in intensive care and had to be operated on several times says it all.

Met Myrtice and Fred. Visiting from St. Simons Island, Georgia. Visit yearly.

I mentioned to Myrtice that she had a strange name. She agreed. Carried with pride, however. It was her mother’s name.

Myrtice is a retired hairdresser.

Fred owns a glass company. Recently celebrated his 40th year in business.

Interesting people. They will be here a few more days. Hope I run into them again.

Then to Mary Ellen’s. I craved a toasted cheese sandwich. Mary Ellen’s the best! Three thick layers of cheese.

On the way home, stopped at Publix to pick up a couple of low carb items.

Two days ago, I was thrilled to announce I had lost 29 pounds. Could not wait to hit 30. Thirty is not to be. This morning the scale indicated I had lost 2 pounds more. Thirty one pounds to date.

The way the diet is working is strange. I have twice gone 2-3 weeks without losing a pound. Then, 3 or 4 pounds in a week.

Whatever way, I will take it.

A change in leadership at the Key West Citizen has taken place. A new acting publisher and one other operational figure. John Kent Cooke, Jr. and Thomas Kent Cooke.

Newspapers in general have had a hard time in recent years. Readers are going to their computers and cell phones for the news.

I suspected the Citizen was in trouble when several months ago the paper went to one edition for saturday and sunday. At the same time, printing was moved to Miami.

Every community, large or small, needs a local daily newspaper. A daily newspaper is the soul of the community. Additionally, a weekly is not timely enough. People want to know what is going on on a daily basis.

I wish the Citizen well.

The #MeToo culture is warranted. About time. However care must be taken in pursuing the men charged. There has to be some sort of due process.

Some women lie. Mistruths are not confined to males alone.

The perfect example to keep in mind is the Duke lacrosse team in 2016. The team had a party. A young black stripper said she was sexually assaulted. All 46 team members were suspended.

The 46 denied the charge. All 46 voluntarily gave DNA samples. No semen from the 46 was found in the lady.

The District Attorney prosecuting the case was running for election. He disregarded the DNA results. The lady involved kept changing her story. The District Attorney failed to advise the Judge of the changes.

The District Attorney indicted 3 of the players.

Something was amiss. The State Bar took over the case. The Attorney General was assigned the prosecution. After proper inquiry, the Attorney General had all charges dismissed. The victim had lied. She had never been assaulted. The District Attorney was disbarred and convicted of criminal contempt for making misleading statements to the Judge.

Forty six lives affected. Three most seriously. Because the “victim” lied and the prosecutor was more interested in being elected than telling the truth.

In the Catholic tradition, today is Holy Thursday.

In my youth (later grammar school and high school years), it was the custom to visit as many Catholic Churches as you could in the community. The Blessed Sacrament was displayed. Generally on a small side altar. The altar was cloaked in white flowers and greenery.

People would stop into a Church, kneel, say a prayer, and then move on to another Church.

The Catholic community came out in mass. Neighbors and friends passing each other on the streets. Sharing a warm hello and Happy Easter!

I assume the Churches still celebrate Holy Thursday as described by me. I wonder however whether people throng to the Churches as they once did.

I doubt it. Religion is dying.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY BLUME

One of Key West’s most admired and respected persons is world famous author Judy Blume.

Today is Judy’s birthday. Happy birthday!

My daughters knew Judy Blume before me. Well before me. In their formative teen years. Judy wrote young adult novels. For the growing young lady. Issues like menstruation, self esteem, etc. She also wrote children’s books and adult novels.

Her books have sold over 80 million copies world wide and have been translated into 30 languages.

Judy and her husband George Cooper were instrumental with others in bringing Books & Books @ The Studios to Key West.

Judy can be found daily at Books & Books assisting visitors in making book selections.  Stop in today and wish her a Happy Birthday! Stop in any time to say hello.

Sunday means The Gardens. Kate Miano’s fabulous place.

I stopped by last night. Shocked! The most people I have ever seen attending the event. Ninety nine percent snowbirds. They have returned! Love Kate’s sunday party!

On the way home, stopped at Publix. I consistently run out of food frequently. Perhaps I never purchase enough at one time.

The past few days, I have had a desire for capicola. An Italian meat treat! Tasty. Bought a pound last night.

Capicola’s story interesting. More interesting, I made capicola while employed at a meat packing plant while in college.

Let me share my knowledge of capicola with you.

Capicola brought over from Italy. Referred to as capocollo in Italy.

Purchased at the store in its finished form as a fatty pork/ham cold cut surrounded by red pepper. Thinly sliced. The fat gives the meat a unique flavor.

Capicola is made from the pig’s muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the shoulder or neck.

The next few steps in the process not the same. Location alters the processing somewhat.

After cutting, the meat I dealt with was placed in huge jars of brine. Not sure the precise nature of the brine. Some said red or white wine, garlic and herbs. My recollection is that the room where the barrels were stored smelled good!

The brinning room was a large refrigerator. Not freezing. Merely cold. The room very large.

Row after row of the barrels. The barrels huge. Five or six feet tall. At least four feet wide. Made of wood.

The meat was marinated in the brine quite a while. Exact time, I do not recall. When the meat was ready for casing, the barrels were transported into another huge room.

That is where I came into the picture. My job was to stand on a ladder and remove the meat chunks one piece at a time. Did it with a meat hook. Had to be careful to put the hook into the right place on the meat. Otherwise, the meat would appear damaged and I could get fired.

I wore rubber gloves. No thin plastic gloves as we have today. My hands hot inside the gloves. The reason being the cooking ovens were in the same room and immediately next to where I was working.

I took the hooked meat off the hook and rolled it by hand in a large pan containing red pepper. Then I threw the piece on a large table below me. There a dozen or so workers were placing the meat in casings. Hands and small machines required for the operation.

The pepper would get in the gloves. Between the pepper heat and heat from the ovens, the skin began flaking off my hands. I was transferred to another job.

Once cased, the product was placed on huge trees and then sent into the huge ovens to cook. The ovens each the size of a room. After cooking, removed and allowed to hang several days to cool before delivery to stores for sale.

The owners of the meat packing house were good people. Employees were permitted to eat any of the meats produced for lunch. We normally went for the capicola or hot fresh ham warm as it came out of the ovens. A feast!

Syracuse survived yesterday against Wake Forest. Won 78-70. Syracuse has to win almost all of its remaining games to make the NCAA Tournament.

Trump coming out with his infrastructure plan today. $1.5 trillion. He has the ideas, but not the money. I understand he will suggest the federal government put  in 20 percent. The rest to be paid by the States, local governments, and private investment. The last meaning selling or leasing roads and bridges to private corporations.

The Feds do not have the money. However, I believe it has to come primarily from the federal government. It always has. The States and local governments are broke. Where would they get the money?

Private sector participation a no no from my perspective. It would be like using mercenaries to fight our wars, contracting out various federal jobs, and privatized jails.

It does not work. As we are slowly finding out, costly and full of improprieties and wrongdoing.

Trump is looking to private corporations to fund most of the repair/reconstruction work. I have seen how this works in Italy. The roads and bridges are beautiful. No pot holes anywhere. Most roads tolled. Expensive to travel. The toll charges not cheap. As a result, most Italians look for narrow country roads to travel.

Another Trump folly, mistake, not thought out plan, in the making.

Enjoy your day!

LOST REEF ADVENTURES

Yesterday being sunday, I decided to breakfast out. Went to one of my favorite haunts. Harpoon Harry’s. No room at the inn. People standing outside waiting to get in.

Walked one block to the Gulf. Enjoyed breakfast at Turtle Kraals. Sat outside. Excellent view of marina boats.

I have written about Turtle Kraals and the area it is situated several times over the years. At one time, it was the heart of Key West’s thriving turtle industry.

The industry long gone. A few old buildings remain. Turtle Kraals may be one of them. There is a much smaller building about 50 feet away. A one story wood structure. Now a turtle museum operated by the Mel Fisher Museum.

I took a walk after breakfast. Not far. Across the street. To Lost Reef Adventures. Sloan’s partner of many years Nick owns the place.

Lost Reef Adventures is a full service dive shop. Sits plum in the middle of the Historic Seaport. Snorkeling, scuba and a sunset cruise daily. Also, a one day scuba course is available for those interested.

Lost Reef Adventures has been in business for 30 years. Operators and staff safety conscious reliable locals.

Then to Publix. Out of food again. Purchased more diet food. Loss now 18 pounds.

Publix was packed. It was obvious most were last minute shoppers preparing for Super Bowl. Moving fast through the store.

Publix must have anticipated a large demand for already cooked chicken wings. All kinds were packaged and ready for sale.

Yesterday’s Super Bowl can only be described as a great game. Thinking about it, most of them are. The Eagles finally won. 41-33.

The Eagles always a small step behind. Making them that much better. It showed in the final score.

Tom Brady continues to amaze me. Forty yeas old and going strong. Said he will be back next year.

The Eagles quarterback was the team’s back up one till December when the starting quarterback was injured and out for the season. He was a Tom Brady yesterday. Voted MVP.

Good for him!

I mentioned last week or the week before that a political party that runs candidates like Alabama’s Roy Moore is doing a disservice to the country. Every nut will think he is qualified to run.

Several are running. One is Arthur Jones of Illinois. The district he is running in contains a part of Chicago.

He has no opposition. Filing for the Republican primary passed in December.

Jones is openly anti-Semitic, a racist, supporter of the radical left, and a neo-Nazi. He denies the Holocaust. Claims it is an international extortion racket.

Jones will lose. The district is overwhelmingly Democrat. Some day however, these nuts will begin winning. Then more problems for our country.

Crazies believe it is ok to run for office. Trump’s election the reason. He is not the most stable of individuals. His policies lacking. Their belief being if Trump can be elected President, I can be elected to Congress!

God help us!

Speaking of Trump, he did it again! Lied!

Trump claims his State of the Union address drew the highest number of viewers in history. False. The First State of the Union speeches by Obama, Bush 2, and Clinton drew more.

Trump concerns me for a number of reasons. In addition to his frequent misrepresentations. The most recent is his belief that the country needs something to happen to unify it. To me, that means war. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 the best unifiers ever.

In recent days, Trump has also said North Korea needs a “bloody nose.” Do unity and giving North Korea a bloody nose go hand in hand? Is Trump getting ready to bomb North Korea?

Enjoy your day!

 

MY COUNTRY, ‘TIS OF THEE, SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY…..

My Country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty…..Let freedom ring!

No more. We’re losing it.

Democracy is being sacrificed on the altar of Donald Trump. Politicians more concerned with expediency rather than correctness.

Yesterday, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward. Today, Stephen R. Mallory.

Mallory of Key West fame. Confederate fame, also. Key West’s famous Mallory Square is named after him. His bronze bust sits in the Key West Memorial Sculpture Garden. One of 39 recognized for having had a major impact on Key West.

He was a United States Senator from Florida 1851-1861. During that time, he was Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs.

He joined the Confederacy when Florida seceded. He served as Secretary of the Navy for the Confederacy during the entire Civil War. He did an excellent job for the Confederacy.

He fled Richmond at the end of the War, was captured, imprisoned, and charged with treason. After one year, he was paroled by President Andrew Johnson.

Mallory rarely if any time returned to Key West. He settled in Pensacola where he practiced law til his death.

I spoke of the Mallory/Confederacy problem last year when the move to remove statues, proclamations, etc. of Southern supporters arose. I asked: Should Mallory Square be renamed? Should Mallory’s bust be removed from the Garden of honor?

My answer then simple. The same today. Leave well enough alone. Broward, Mallory, and all the rest part of American history. Good, bad or indifferent.

History should neither be altered, destroyed nor removed.

Attended the Key West Craft Show yesterday afternoon. Covered half the length of Whitehead. Everything on exhibit, everything for sale. Great craft!

The Craft Show has been ongoing more than 30 years.

I bought my first Jack Baron painting 20 years ago at the Craft Show. A black Madonna and Child. $3,500. My wife at the time said I was out of my mind.

I still have the painting, as well as many other Baron works. It gives me joy every time I look at it.

Visited with Diana Millikan at cocktail time at her Key West home on Hilton Haven Drive. Her tiny condo sits on a canal.

Diana and I have been working on a book together for ever so long. It seems to be taking forever to complete. We are still at the research stage. The novel intended is a history of Key West prostitution. All the way back to 1660.

Diana just returned from a trip to Haiti to attend the funeral of a friend. She was down with dysentery for three days. She said she drank bottled water. Turned out the water was bottled in Haiti with Haitian waters.

Then to the Chart Room. Shaun bartending. Quiet.

Heard a cruise ship could not dock yesterday. Wind too strong.

Spoke with Tom and Fran Dixson in Buffalo last night. They recently returned from a cruise to Cuba. Leave soon for a 2 week tour of Rome and southern Italy. They are traveling with a Buffalo area seminary. The trip includes an audience with the Pope.

Too much on  my mind sometimes. I thought the Syracuse/Pitt game was tomorrow night. It was saturday night. Missed it. Syracuse won 60-55.

Next game wednesday evening against Georgia Tech at 8. I will not miss it.

Donna called last night. They made it to Tampa. Donna hurting bad. Going to find a Tampa orthopedist today.

Terri’s testing began at 6:30 this morning. I wish her well.

New Orleans has Mardi Gras. Key West, Fantasy Fest.

Beads have been clogging New Orleans’ catch basins for years. To the point, water ain’t moving. A bead removal project underway. Estimated 93,000 pounds of beads (46 tons) to be removed. Sixty four thousand catch basins. Cost: $7 million.

Will Key West ever be so afflicted? Hope not.

We have been complaining about Russian interference in our elections. Putin has turned the tables on us. He is complaining of U.S. meddling in the Russian elections to be held March 18. The pot calling the kettle black.

There is no need for any country to attempt to influence Russian elections. Putin either kills or jails the opposition before the election.

We take automobiles for granted. To drive or ride in. There was a time when autos were new, however.

William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States. He was the first American President to ride in an auto. September 1901 in a Stanley Steamer.

Enjoy your day!