SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF ITALY

I attended the monthly meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Italy last night at the Bottle Cap. Always enjoyable. Good food, good people. Interesting conversations.

Giorgi sponsored me in the club. He was elected President last night.

I sat with Paul, Sharon and Donna.

A new member and first timer was a woman whose name I cannot recall. Sorry. She recently arrived from Italy. Her family has been in the gelato business for years. Like three generations. In Italy. A store recently opened in Key West.

A daughter in Key West. She is managing the store for her father.

The family was not happy with the machinery used to make gelato which was available in the U.S. She brought family machinery with her.

The new store is called Gelateria Nuovolfiore Key West. Address 407 e Front Street.

She brought samples for us to enjoy. All terrific!

I have been dieting three weeks. Cheated last night. Big time. Ate everything. Did not feel guilty at all.

Edward Toppino is a Key West icon. A giant. Today around 90 years old. He is a member.

His father built US 1. For real. Ed got into the business. Today his sons and grandsons. Ed a neighbor. Lives around the corner from me.

Ed told us about the 1935 hurricane and its impact on US 1. The hurricane was a 5 and one of the worst to hit the lower keys. Certain railroad bridges down or broke. The road in bad shape. If my memory is correct, over 400 dead.

Ed spoke about some of the railroad bridges resupported and used for the highway. The difficulties in building the highway at that point.

One of the problems was where to live. Tents used prior to the hurricane. Ed’s father built a motel in Marathon to house his family and some of his employees.

The railroad, Flagler Railroad, died with the hurricane. Flagler’s dream no more. The motel in Marathon still stands.

Stopped at the Chart Room afterwards. John off. A new female bartender. She said she would be working four nights.

Friend Ken at the bar. He is in and out of Key West. Leaves tomorrow. Will return in a month.

Met Mark and Jim. From outside Flint, Michigan. Interesting conversation.

Spent the afternoon listening to Trump and Tillerson. I fear they are leading us into a war.

Bocce tonight, depending on the weather. Has been pouring big time all morning. May clear up. If it does soon, the courts will dry by bocce time.

Conch Republic Days begin friday. Seven at Schooner Wharf Bar. A short exciting parade. Lively costumes. Shell Blowing Contest.

The famed commentator now dead Charles Kuralt was a frequent visitor to Key West. Schooner Wharf was his favorite place. He referred to it as the “…..center of the universe.”

Sarin gas has been in the news since Assad bombed his people with it. Sean Spicer got sarin gas and Hitler screwed up two days ago. The news has been following his mea culpas.

No one has mentioned that Hitler was in fact involved with sarin gas. The Nazis developed it. Then stockpiled it. Hitler refused to use it against the Allies.

The gas used in the death chambers was not sarin.

I spoke of Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions and his Civil War Confederate namesake General P. C. T. Beauregard yesterday.

A follow up re the General.

The General bombarded Fort Sumter for 33 hours. The Union force was not prepared for the battle. Little ammunition, cannons, food, etc. The Union surrendered.

Turns out Beauregard was a gentleman. He did not take the Union forces and contractors working on the fort prisoner. He permitted them to leave and march north.

There were 118 military and 43 construction workers. Not one had sustained an injury during the fight. The South lost a dog during the battle. Plus one soldier who was killed by an accidental explosion after the battle.

Robot, robots, robots! They are everywhere! Moving in on everything we do.

Today, chess. An expert chess team played two robots. The robots won most of the matches.

Enjoy your day!

 

GEORGE WASHINGTON 2ND RICHEST PRESIDENT

Trump the richest President. No question about it. Who second?

George Washington.

Washington was worth $525 million. He owned land, businesses, a distillery, and slaves. His Presidential salary nothing to be ashamed of. Negotiated I assume by him. His salary annually was 2 percent of the U.S. budget.

Fine tuned my podcast show in the afternoon. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Most of the show was to be Trump and Judge Neil Gorsuch. My show was ready to go at 3. Had to wait. Show time not till 9.

Then everything hit the fan in Washington. More Trump problems. Involving some of his campaign team members. The Judge’s questioning before the Judiciary Committee put on hold.

All hell was breaking loose.

I reworked my show plan to accommodate the news.

Re Trump, he is a man sitting on a sunny beach not aware that a tsunami is approaching. The coming disaster inevitable. He in the middle of it.

Money laundering originating in Russia creeping into the news. Watch for it. The money laundering reached British and American banks.

Judge Neil Gorsuch a winner! I was impressed! A legal mind!

Though he is a conservative, he will vote liberal if the case calls for it. My impression.

Newly appointed Supreme Court Justices sometime change sides. The conservative votes liberal.

Eisenhower’s opponent for the Republican nomination in 1952 was California’s Governor Warren. A black hearted Republican. Nothing in his history to indicate anything else.

Warren was appointed Chief Justice. He immediately turned. Warren was one of the most liberal Justices in our nation’s history. Eisenhower lamented the one mistake of his Presidency was nominating Warren to the bench.

Then came Justice Souter. A small town Republican lawyer who was fortunate to become a New Hampshire Judge. A conservative one. Appointed to the Supreme Court, a metamorphism occurred. He became a dependable liberal vote.

I have been into pythons for five years. The Everglades replete with them. They are now moving into the Keys. One or two made it to Key West.

The State failed to timely pay attention to their growing numbers. Pythons frequently engage in sex. They have overrun the Everglades. The actual number unknown. Cannot be determined.

Experts claim eradication impossible. Too many. The aim to date has been to mange the python problem. Impossible. They reproduce faster than they can be killed.

Now comes Florida State Senator Artiles. He wants the State to pay private contractors to go into the Everglades and kill pythons.

A guaranteed exercise in futility.

Robots. One of my favorite topics for a year. They are here and more coming in increasing numbers. Human jobs will be lost.

Arabs are smart. The Dubai Police Force announced that they will begin using robots for certain police work beginning in May. They expect that by 2030, 25 percent of the force will be robots.

Mark Twain and his friend Thomas B. Reed spent this day in 1902 in Key West. Reed was Speaker of the House of Representatives at the time. They were on their way to Cuba. Party time.

Jimmy Walker was a famous New York City mayor in the roaring 1920’s and into the early 1930 Depression years. He became too friendly with the mob. Under investigation, he ran off to Europe with his wife.

Betty Compton his wife. Somehow she got to Key West in later years. On this day in 1941, Betty Compton divorced Jimmy Walker in a Florida Circuit Court sitting in Key West.

Harry Truman. One of Key West’s favorite persons. Truman loved Key West. Key West loves Truman.

On this day in 1951, Truman completed a three week vacation at the Little White House and returned to Washington.

Enjoy your day!

PROPER GRAMMAR RACIST

Pouring like hell! Dark and gloomy! A for real ocean side storm.

Love ’em. Just as much as sunny and warm days. Each its own flavor.

For many years, I have enjoyed rain and ocean. This morning, I opened the sliding doors and enjoyed the weather from my bed. Could see and hear. Nothing like it.

We are going through revolutionary times again. Racism the basis of it. One example is how certain people feel about language. The use of words. Grammar.

Proper grammar is considered reflective of white supremacy. Ergo, racist.

So sayeth certain African-Americans. Especially those who are college students.

The language spoken in the black community and parts of the white is far from what is considered by others as proper grammar. Such being the case, proper grammar should not be utilized in teaching, communicating, etc. Go with the language of the street.

Asao Inoue is the Writing Program Director at the University of Washington-Tacoma. He is one who describes proper grammar as racist.  He is anti-racist (based on what he considers racist). Wants street talk to make up the language structure.

I think Inoue and others who want street language to be the new norm are lazy. Simply stated. My sense is they refuse to accept and learn the discipline of speaking and writing proper grammar. They seek the easy way out.

Or, they are merely trouble makers.

My podcast show last night went well. As usual, fun to do. Political correctness re grammar as described hereinbefore one of the topics discussed.

Another one that I wrote about two years ago in a local newspaper and have commented on several times since. Afghanistan and the American heroin problem. Right on. Always interesting. Needs repeating till something is done about it.

Cuban Coffee Queen for lunch yesterday. Cuban cheese toast, Cuban coffee and American newspapers.

Stock Island and Key West not always joined. A boat ride separated the two. Till this date 1906. Stock Island and Key West were joined by a new 12 foot roadway built for the Florida East Coast Railroad.

Before the suns sets this day on Standing Rock, people may be injured and/or die. The Army Corp of Engineers set this date as the deadline for the Sioux Indians and their supporters to remove themselves from the property.

Some have suggested leave the issue to the courts. Others have said stay and fight. Religious fervor deep. As are basic rights. Both motivating factors re the Indian position.

If trouble occurs, Trump bears significant responsibility. He appears to have promised he would take care of things if elected. He did. He ordered construction to be resumed. His justification twofold. U.S. steel would be used, jobs created.

As a nation, we always seem to be behind. Jobs began going to Europe and Mexico twenty plus years ago. We are still fighting the battle to get them back.

Too late.

Our concern today should be robots and artificial intelligence. Such are taking over jobs. Cheaper for corporations. Involve less employee aggravation.

Cars and trucks are being tested for driverless operation. McDonald’s using kiosks where the customer presses a button to give orders. Eighteen months from now, you will receive your drive through McDonald’s order from a robot. Parking lots no longer have attendants. Machine operated.

On and on.

What have we done as a nation to train our labor force for this new world? Next to nothing.

Robots and artificial intelligence will be a major issue in the next Presidential campaign.

Warren Buffet this week reduced his holdings in Wal-Mart by $900 million. Does not speak well for Wal-Mart.

Tonight at 7, Syracuse/Duke. Big game! Duke 22-5 and ranked. Syracuse 16-12 and unranked. Duke a 4.5 point favorite. Syracuse needs to win this one to have a possibility of making the NCAA tournament.

I plan on watching the game at Jack Flats.

Still pouring like hell.

Enjoy your day!

 

IT’S COLD

Cold this morning! Surprised me. Normally, I can sense a change in weather before it occurs. Missed this one.

The weather for several weeks has generally been in the 80s by day and mid to high 70s by night. I woke this morning to 67 degrees. The high today is projected at 71. Tonight, the temperature will drop to 63.

I already turned the heat on.

Nights will be cold all week. 62-64 degrees.

Tonight is the Sons and Daughters of Italy’s fundraiser. At the bocce courts. The courts sit on the Atlantic. Long pants and jacket time.

My responsibility tonight is to explain/teach novices the game.

The event opens at 5:30. Stop by and have some fun. Enjoy a beer and hot dog. Meet some great people.

Happy New Year! Asian New Year!

A manicure with Tammy yesterday. Tammy born and raised in Vietnam. In U.S. now 12 years. A U.S. citizen since last year. Proudly so.

Tammy educated me a bit as to the Asian New Year.

Celebration week long. Today, the actual day. She and her family have been celebrating all week long. Party at each other’s homes. Food only. No booze. Everyone must be in their own homes by midnight.

This is the year of the Rooster. Did not understand what that meant.

Today being the for real New Year’s Day, families stay home and do a quiet family day.

Fireworks are to ward off evil spirits. I cannot recall what the paper dragon symbolizes.

Learned something interesting. Vietnamese men are entitled to have two wives. They live together with the husband. Her grandfather and father had two wives.

No way will she permit her husband Rickey to have two wives. He is Vietnamese, also. Tammy, Americanized.

Celebrated Dee’s 60th birthday last night at La Trattoria Oceanside.

La Trattoria Oceanside not one of my favorite places. Last night was only the fifth time in 5 years I have gone there. Dee wanted to go. She likes the place.

My dislike reasons are simple.

They did not have our reservation last night. The third time for me in my five visits over two years. The hostess did not care. We ended up with a shit table.

The service is always slow. To get a drink, place an order, get served. The food not worth the charge.

It will be a long time before I go to La Trattoria Oceanside again.

Everyday, a bit. My rewrite of Growing Up Italian going slowly. This is the fourth rewrite. I do not want to do another. I am pleased with the progress.

Going Live on Facebook not where I want it. For some reason, I continue to appear rigid. I am. Also, I have not worked out the distance factor yet.

I am also screwing up otherwise. I did seven separate shows yesterday. Three got lost. I did not press all the buttons to post. One had no voice. I do not know why.

Hang in there folks! I will get it!

The Women’s International Flag Football Tournament in full swing. In addition to the European nations mentioned yesterday who are participating, there are also teams from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Syracuse/Florida State at noon. Florida State a three point favorite. I will be watching the game on TV.

The annual Key West Craft Fair this weekend. Bundle up and go to the first three blocks of Whitehead. The show always terrific.

In between the Syracuse game and bocce at 5, I hope to spend a couple of hours with Liz.

As a nation, we are late in doing something about lost jobs. The issue today is not jobs leaving the country. A yesterday issue. Four years from now in the next Presidential campaign, we will be arguing robots and automation. We are always behind.

Enjoy your day!

I’M HAPPY FOR A CHANGE

“I’m happy for a change!”

Not my words. Jim Boeheim’s. Properly so.

Boeheim spoke at a press conference following yesterday’s Syracuse/Pitt game. Syracuse has played poorly till the past few days. Horribly!

They beat Miami handily a few days ago. Yesterday, destroyed Pitt! I could not believe my eyes watching the game.

Two times in the first half Syracuse lead by 28 points. Threes were dropping in with ease. Long ones. The defense was what it should be. Pitt went something like 14 minutes in the first half without scoring a basket.

The final score 77-66. Not indicative of the size of the victory. The last few minutes Pitt was on a scoring spree. Syracuse subdued by that point.

Is Syracuse back? I think so. I hope so. If so, it is going to be a hell of a season!

I am most happy for Boeheim. A gentleman. A class act. It had to be killing him he could not get the team together the first half of the season.

The weather outside is frightful…..

When it is cold up north, the cold extends to Key West. In a different fashion, of course. No snow. The temperature not as low.

It does get cold, however. It has been in the 80s and humid for a couple of weeks. All of a sudden yesterday around noon, the cold front hit. Just like that. Huge winds. Temperature dropped 15 degrees. Heavy rain.

Stayed cold. Still cold. The temperature was a low of 57 during the night. Fifty seven at 8 this morning. Weather Channel said it felt like 52. High today 60. Will be 60 during the night, also.

I turned the heat on last night. It will remain on till the cold spell leaves.

First stop last night was Tavern ‘n Town. Went early hoping to get a bar seat. No way. I left. Sad because I wanted to hear Bobby Nesbitt sing.

Next stop was the Chart Room. Cold walking in from the parking lot. The Pier House sits on open water. The wind blowing in.

Victor bartending. Sat next to a gent from Lansing, Michigan. Max. Retired. In his other life, he put conglomerates together.

Max older than me. By one year. Eighty two. Much in common to discuss.

Too bad Liz was not with us. The conversation would have been interesting. Liz and Max both supported Trump.

Fighting the cold wind, walked over to the Hot Tin Roof. I was dressed for the cold. A heavy winter jacket.

Nevertheless, needed body heating and soul satisfying food. Lobster bisque and lobster mac and cheese.

Ran into Buffalo’s Tom and Fran at the Hot Tin Roof. They were having dinner with his brother. Tonight, they will be having dinner with me.

Tom missed the Syracuse game earlier in the day. He could not believe the story I told him. He is a die hard Syracuse fan, also.

United Airlines first non-stop flight from Chicago arrived saturday.

The airport is relatively new. Followed by an update a couple of years ago to accommodate additional arriving and departing flights. The update outgrown already.

The season is in full swing. No break in January any more. People all over. Restaurants and bars packed. Hotels getting top dollar. Tourists not complaining.

I worry. Key West is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Goose or chicken?

The Citizen’s Today In Keys History listed two interesting events which occurred on this date. The City of Key West was incorporated in 1828. The first traffic light was installed in Key West in 1935.

I did a search to determine where the first light was installed. Could not come up with the information. However in reading a Key West history, the year of incorporation was listed as May 1889. Don’t know which is correct.

In the last 24 hours, I read somewhere that Obama has played 333 rounds of golf while President. Sounded like…..When did he work?

I did some digging re the issue of Presidential golf. Turns out Obama is a piker as far as number of rounds of golf. Woodrow Wilson played 1,200 rounds. Dwight Eisenhower 800.

Some more robot information.

An Australian mining company is mining with robots 24 hours a day. The Rio Tinto Mining Company. Four mines located in Australia’s northwest in an area called Mars-red.

Robots are used for rock drilling. They are described as robotic drilling rigs. Autonomous (driverless) trucks and trains also used. Driverless trains haul the ore hundreds of miles to a port. The trains load and unload themselves automatically.

Rio Tinto is in the forefront re robotic/autonomous mining. The need for human miners reduced to almost nothing.

I obtained the information from an MIT article. The article failed to mention what happened to the human employees let go. An issue requiring serious attention.

Enjoy your sunday!

THE THORNTONS…..HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Jean and Joe Thornton…..Happy Anniversary! Forty years!

The event was celebrated with a small group of friends last night at Berlin’s. Janyne one of the party.

Bria payed Jean and Joe lovely compliments and then invited them to dance as she sang.

A lovely couple. A Key West loved couple.

I was at Berlin’s last night with Jenna for dinner.

At least two months since I’ve seen Jenna. She is always working, on the road or running.

She spent Christmas in Indiana with the family. Followed by a week in New York City as Reuben’s guest.

Jenna…..Always beautiful, always striving.

I think Anna and Everett were at Berlin’s also. Shamefully, I did not recognize them. Realized as I was leaving they were new found friends from Aqua and the Chart Room this past week.

My apologies.

Exciting days coming at the end of the month. Exciting to me.

From 1/30 to 2/2, three World War II planes will be on exhibit in Key West. Three planes that helped win the War. Three planes I played with during the War years. Making models.

The B-24 bomber, B-25 bomber, and the P-51 Mustang fighter.

The place, the Key West Airport.

The planes are on a 110 city tour.

Syracuse/Pitt at noon today. Syracuse a 3 point favorite. The game not available on TV. I had wanted to watch the game with Dan Reardon. When your team sucks, TV ignores your team.

On this day in 1789, George Washington was elected the first President of the United states. Only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. Voting restrictions existed even back then. Its purpose then and now to protect the turf of those who are part of the so called establishment.

More re the robot invasion.

IBM Watson has designed and produced robots to replace insurance claim workers at a Japanese insurance company. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance.

Thirty four human insurance claim workers will be replaced. Beginning this month. Replaced by the IBM Explorer AI robot.

The robots will scan hospital records and other documents to determine insurance payouts, factoring injuries, patient medical histories, and procedures administered.

The robot cost $1.7 million. Plus maintenance of $128,000 a year.

Fukokou will realize a savings of $1.1 million per year on employee salaries. Providing a return on its investment in less than two years.

In addition, productivity is expected to increase by 30 percent.

Just the beginning! Time is now to worry about how human employees replaced by robots will be transitioned. Actually, yesterday was the time. We are always late.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

DRINKING LIBERALLY

I attended a Drinking Liberally meeting last night. Met my expectations, failed to meet my expectations.

Drinking Liberally is a political and social organization were self-identified liberals and progressives gather in bars to socialize and talk politics. It is national. Hundreds of local organizations.

I never knew of the group’s existence till last week. Saw a small notice in the Key West Citizen advising its next meeting. Did some quick research. Decided to attend.

The meeting was last night at VFW on Northern Boulevard. Five to 6:15.

I was disappointed in the drinking portion. Conservative rather than liberal. More water drinkers than alcohol.

I was impressed with the meeting itself. Grass roots. Most attendees senior citizens. With one exception. A young man about 25.

Topics covered many issues. Too many. The organization is still seeking its way. It will get there.

I was impressed with the ladies. Participated to the fullest. Greater than the men in attendance. No bashful women in the room.

The group meets the first thursday of every month at the VFW at 5. I plan on continuing. The comments were revealing.

Then to the Chart Room. John bartending. David came in. Always enjoy David’s company.

Paul showed up with a friend. Paul was merely showing the room to his friend.

Met Elaine and Ken. Elaine an exquisite beauty. Involved deeply in charitable work. Especially, the American Cancer Society.

Ken a semi-retired oncologist.

Elaine and Ken married 57 years. Award winning! Two children, 4 grandchildren.

Periodic visitors to Key West. Usually stay at Marquesa.

Ken shared an interesting experience. He was a senior at Northwestern Medical School. Senior students were sent to the homes of the poor to provide services. One was baby deliveries.

Deliveries performed right at the home. Stirrups required. Two coke bottles for each foot covered with a shower curtain. To insure a germ free environment , newspapers were laid under and over the mother to be.

Elaine and Ken leave today. Hope to run into them the next time they visit Key West.

Devin came in. I did not recognize him at first. We met several months ago in the Chart Room. I wrote about him at the time.

Devin is 40ish. From Illinois. He and his brother own and operate a large farm. They know what they are doing. Get their product grown and sold. They work with the major food corporations. Did not fight them as the food cycle changed.

Devin has a Key West condo. He is back for several months. I am sure we will run into each other again.

Tom and Fran Dixon arrived last night. we get together sunday. They left their home in cold and snowy Buffalo for the heat of Key West. In for a surprise. A cold front coming in. Monday, tuesday and wednesday. Monday evening a low of 57. Cold!!!

The Key West Citizen reported this morning of a bull shark problem in the Key West Bight. Three have frequently been seen. Divers and boaters concerned. Scared. Especially divers who clean boat bottoms.

One female, two males. The female 8-9 feet long. Weight estimated at 500 pounds.

The female was some how hooked and netted. Dragged 6 miles out and released. It is assumed the two males will leave the area. They apparently were enjoying the comforts of the female. They will leave seeking female companionship elsewhere.

Robots/artificial intelligence. Not discussed enough. A danger already arrived and anticipated to spread big time over the next five years.

I have spoken and written about robots taking over human jobs for a year. Few seemed concerned. I was beginning to think I was a voice in the wilderness. I was extremely disappointed the issue was not discussed during the Presidential campaign.

Recently, a word here and there in the media. Finally.

I shall speak to the issue the next several days. A few words.

A recent study by economists at major universities concerning middle class jobs interesting. Bottom line: Where robots take routine middle class jobs, those workers drop out of the work force. They leave the job market entirely or are pushed into low paying employment.

The study links unemployment with automation.

An interesting study observation: Robots don’t just co-occur with unemployment, they cause it.

As I have previously commented, robots and artificial intelligence already quietly replacing human jobs. Some auto assembly lines no longer use humans. Work done by huge robots. McDonald’s testing automated kiosks to take orders. Anticipated that in 18 months, the McDonald drive in window will have a robot handing you your order and change.

Tractor trailers being tested for driverless operation. Uber testing driverless cars in two states.

Foxconn is the major manufacturer  of the Apple I Phone. One million two hundred thousand employees. One million of which work at factories in China. Already let go 60,000 employees at one plant. Replaced by robots. Working towards all plants going robot by 2020.

Query: Where will robot unemployed humans find work? Requires attention.

Enjoy your day!