CAPTAIN TONY…..I BEAT THE MAFIA

Captain Tony Tarracino an icon. Part and parcel of Key West. Died at 92. His 102nd birthday being celebrated friday night at 8 at Captain Tony’s.

A crowd guaranteed. Family and friends. Tourists.

A unique personality. Tony is remembered as a salon keeper, boat captain, rum runner, gun runner, politician, gambler, Key West mayor, and a story teller.

Married several times. Actual number not certain. Perhaps 4. Married to his last wife 38 years. Fathered 13 children.

Jimmy Buffett a good friend. Ran one of Tony’s mayoral campaigns. When Tony died, Buffett wrote a song commemorating him: Last Mango In Paris. The song’s opening line…..”I went down to Captain Tony’s / To get out of the heat / Heard a voice call out to me / ‘Son come have a seat’.”

Tony’s father was a bootlegger. Tony dropped out of school at 9 to sell liquor. Illegal at the time.

Tony was lucky to get to Key West.

He got involved with the New Jersey Mafia. Screwed them on some horse races. Became persona non grata. The Mafia thought they killed him in retribution. Dumped his body somewhere in New Jersey. He was not dead. Got out of Dodge. Escaped to Key West.

I only know one of Tony’s children. A daughter nick-named Tony who is a concierge at the Marriott Beachside. Warm and charming. Look forward to seeing her friday night at the birthday party.

Key West a money maker for investors! Developers have faith Key West prosperity will continue. It was announced yesterday that a San Francisco group KHP Capital Partners had purchased six Key West guest houses. A package deal. One hundred nine million dollars. Two hundred twenty two guest rooms.

The Key West City Commission gave formal approval to the proposed “pocket park” at the Atlantic end of Duval. A group will rent the last block from the City. Perhaps the pier. I am not sure.

Tables and chairs will be set in the street. Nine parking places to be removed. Food will be served from the Southernmost Beach Cafe and the Southernmost Guest House. A food truck will be located on the Guest House property.

I do not approve. The Bubba system at its worst. The street and its view should be left as is. Nature already perfect. Does not require upgrading.

The Chart Room first last night. John bartending. A friend from last year at the bar. Gordon Anderson from Tombstone, Arizona.

Gordon runs the Larian Motel in Tombstone. Two blocks from O.K. Corral.

A year changed nothing re our political views. Gordon remains firm in his conviction that Trump is the right guy to be President. He has faith in him. Believes in him. Has hope for Trump’s Presidency.

Gordon appears to be one of the 89 percent Republicans who remain supportive of the President.

The give and take was excellent. Just as it was last year.

Then to the Blue Macaw for ribs and a drink. Met Doug. Ten years a Key Wester. Works at the Hemingway House as a guide. Loves the job.

Doug is from the Boston area. We chatted re Boston, Hemingway, his wives, his girl friend who eventually moved to Key West, etc.

A nice guy. Enjoyable conversation.

The weather man’s advice in simple terms for today: Nice day, nice night.

Thank you.

Trump was going to clean the swamp. Good luck! It is worse than ever. A culture of corruption pervades. From the White House down. A fish rots from the head.

The most recent alleged wrongdoer is upstate New York Congressman Chris Collins. A Republican. Represents the Buffalo and Rochester areas.

He was arrested for insider trading. His son and son’s fiance’s father, also.

Collins was the first Congressperson to support Trump. He seconded Trump’s nomination at the convention. Served on Trump’s Transition Team.

We may not know the winner of the Ohio Congressional race for a while. The Republican candidate is ahead by 1,504 votes. However more than 8,000 provisional and absentee ballots remain to be counted. They are required by law to be tabulated by August 24.

I close with my thoughts re Federal District Court Judge Thomas Selby Ellis. He is hearing the Manafort case.

Ellis has been a Judge 31 years.

He is obviously cantankerous on the bench. Disrespectful to attorneys. Involves himself in questioning too much. Etc. He is aware of how he conducts himself. He once said, “I am a Caesar in my own Rome.”

He should be off the bench. I wrote and spoke re judges who sit too long two weeks ago. At that time re the Supreme Court where Justices sit for life. Thirty plus years not uncommon. Justices in their 80’s common.

Too old to serve. Judges do not get better with age. They get cantankerous, mean, disrespectful. Know everything. Tempers short.

I advised at the time that the reason our Founding Fathers did not set an age limit for federal judges was the length of life back then. The average life of a white male was 35 years.

All Federal judges sit for life.

Judges are like everyone else. People think because they wear black robes they are supposedly fair and without human shortcomings. Judges are just like everyone else. If they have a bad night or morning with their wives, the lawyers feel it in the courtroom. Some are prejudiced. Dislike persons of color, certain ethnics, etc. They don’t know it. I have never met a bigot who knew he was a bigot.

And so on.

Ellis is to old for the job. It is time that thought be given to a Constitutional amendment setting a fixed number of year for the job. Justice will fail to be served in all instnaces otherwise.

I missed doing the blog and Key West Lou Live show yesterday. A new pill. Reacted adversely with my other medications. I was in rough shape yesterday morning. Kept feeling I was going to pass out.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

EASTER SUNDAY

Matthew 20:19…..On the third day he will be raised to life.

Luke 24…..He is not here, he is risen.

Such Easter Sunday’s religious joyous connotation. There also is another joyous one. In a popular sense. Best exemplified by Irving Berlin’s 1933 Easter Parade: In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.

I used to believe death was the only constant. Life has taught me otherwise. Change is a constant, also. Nothing remains the same. Nothing is as it was.

Easter Sunday attire is reflective of change. Big time. Mike Ragland is a retired police officer living in the Rome, Georgia area. He recently wrote a change type article for the Rome News Tribune titled “In Your Easter Bonnet.”

I have combined some of my thoughts with his for today’s blog.

The tale of Easter Sunday attire begins with Constantine I. Emperor of Rome in the early fourth century. He ordered his subjects to dress in their finest clothes and parade in honor of Christ’s Resurrection.

His decree developed with time.

In Tudor days, superstition originated which claimed that unless a person had new homespun cloth available at Easter, moths and crickets would eat his old clothes.

The Irish added a vestige that stated, “For Christmas, food and drink; for Easter, new clothes.”

A 15th century proverb from Poor Richard’s Almanac stated that if on Easter Sunday some part of the outfit was not new, one would not enjoy good luck during the year.

German settlers in Pennsylvania as early as 1782 paraded on Easter Monday. Easter Monday was widely celebrated as a holiday. The parading continued for over a century.

Then came the big one!

In 1870, ladies of congregations along New York’s Fifth Avenue began decorating churches with fresh flowers to commemorate Easter Sunday. A New York newspaper noted over half the female congregation members were decked out in their best finery while so doing.

A few years later, ladies and their escorts began walking to other churches to view floral arrangements and to be seen. The strolling area extended from 49th Street to 57th Street on Fifth Avenue.

By 1900, Easter Sunday  was rivaling Christmas as a merchant’s dream and was spreading to other cities.

Irving Berlin’s 1933 Easter Parade glorified the day as it had become. Fifteen years later, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire made the movie Easter Parade. One of the most profitable movies made to that time.

I am 82. In my youth, the whole family dressed on Easter Sunday. Where affordable, of course. I first noticed the everyone dressing up thing during World War II when I was 5-10 years old.

We dressed for church. Walked to and back from church as a family. Everyone smiling and exchanging hellos with neighbors and friends.

Followed by Easter Sunday dinner. Exceeded only by Christmas dinner.

The ladies wore hats. New ones, big ones, little ones, frilly and flowered.

I recall Easter Sundays in the 1960’s. Married with four little ones. We all dressed, went to church, and then to a huge family dinner.

The historical Easter Sunday and the one I knew is no more. A thought to be constant having disappeared. No one dresses as they did. Hats, what hats? Few families go to church together. Few go to church. The big meal, rare.

I am glad I was fortunate to have lived through those times. The memories real and warm.

My friends, whatever way you celebrate Easter Sunday, whatever you wear, whatever you eat, enjoy the day. This is what it is. Not bad, not as good, just the way it is.

Happy Easter!

 

 

AMERICA SLEEPS AGAIN

Once we were not concerned enough, did not care, did not believe what was happening in Europe was bad. The Atlantic would protect us from the evils of Germany. America slept. The result, we ended up in a World War.

It is happening again. A World War may not be the result. However, something bad inevitably will occur.

The problem is President Trump.

Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury published last week has aroused Trump and his troops to the heights. They have come out battling. Cabinet members and White House aides were on national TV talk shows yesterday morning. Denying the accuracy of Wolff’s comments and supporting the mental well being, etc. of their leader.

One was Steve Miller. He appeared on CNN.

Miller was a speech writer for Trump during the campaign. Thirty two. Maybe thirty three now. Knows everything. In reality, nothing. He is a nationalist, white supremacist. Student of Steve Banner, till Banner’s refutation by Trump last week.

I have compared Miller to Hitler’s Joseph Goebbels. Adolph’s propaganda minister. Lie, lie, lie. Eventually the people will believe.

During the interview, Miller was basically non-responsive to questions. Talked about that which he wanted. Finally, the interviewer called an end to the interview of Miller.

Amusingly or sadly, Miller had to be escorted out of the CNN building. Apparently he did not want to leave. What occurred specifically, I do not know. No one is talking about it in any detail as yet.

Our President is mentally incapable of being President. A nut case. He has turned his back on our friends and sucks up to those who have been our enemies for years. Wants to destroy the FBI. Wants Hillary Clinton in jail.

Addressing the last point. We have never thrown a political opponent in jail. Banana republics do it. Totalitarian states, also.

Wake up Republican legislators, wake up America! Trump is trouble. He is dramatically harming the nation.

Spent yesterday lounging around the house. Watched the Golden Globes last night.

Gary Oldman won for Best Actor. The Darkest Hour.

Kirk Douglas appeared. Ninety one. Looks it, unfortunately. In a wheel chair, the results of his stroke remain on his face, speech slurred.

Oprah Winfrey was honored. She won the Humanitarian Award. A special person. A special speaker.

Missed Chicken Dog Church and the Gardens yesterday by giving into my laziness. Tonight, I will be out. Definitely. Dueling Bartenders and then home to watch the Alabama/Georgia game. Alabama favored by four points. Going to be close. Never can tell who the winner will be in a national championship game.

Papua, New Guinea in trouble. The volcano on Kadovar Island is erupting for the first time in history. A tsunami and landslides feared. People evacuating.

I mention Papua because there are a few Papuans who read this blog. Almost from its inception.

I wish everyone on the island good luck.

Christmas is Christmas. However certain portions are celebrated differently in other places.

Italy, for example.

Christian. Roman in origin. Celebrate all of Christmas on December 25, except for gift giving. Gift giving occurs on January 6. January 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany. The day the three Wise Men paid homage to baby Jesus.

The Italians do not celebrate the Epiphany as such. Rather the day belongs to pagan folklore. An old hag dressed in black with a black witch’s hat riding on a broom. Her name, Befana. She brings gifts during the night as Santa Claus does elsewhere at Christmas. If a person was bad, no gift. Coal in the stocking!

Accompanying the gifts are sweets. Cookies and candy.

I am not an economist. Nor would I consider myself a stock market expert. Except in one regard.

My eighty two years has taught me that when the market is flying high, as it has been for quite a while, it will crash. No question. What goes up, comes down. Faster. The crash dramatic. Unexpected. Assets diminished big time, fortunes wiped out.

I have been predicting a crash for more than a year. I suspect later this year or sometime next year.

The experts call the crash an “adjustment.” The market does it on its own. It regurgitates hundreds and thousand of points at a time.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

LINCOLN JUMPED OUT A WINDOW TO STOP A VOTE

I was chatting at the Hot Tin Roof bar last night with a couple from Montana. Trump supporters.

A congenial conversation. Opposing views expressed.

At one poin,t they were expressing their disgust with the Democrats having failed to turn up for one or two committee hearings yesterday. Hearings scheduled for votes re two cabinet picks.

I smiled. Then shared with them a story I wrote in this blog 4-5 years ago.

It was 1840. The actual date December 5. Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Illinois Legislature. He was a Whig at the time.

The Democrats the opposing party.

The Democrats needed a quorum to vote on a piece of legislation they wanted passed. They suspected the Whigs might leave the Chamber so there would not be a quorum. The Democrats had the door locked.

Lincoln was no fool. The Chamber was on the second floor. He walked over and opened a window. Jumped out and ran off. Thereby denying the opposition for the moment the quorum required.

I told my friends, denying a quorum is All American. If Lincoln could do it, so too today’s Democrats.

Sex seems to affect children at an earlier age these days. You show me yours, I’ll show you mine has graduated to sexually explicit classmate photos.

Horace O’Bryant is a Key West school. Kindergarten through 8th grade. An investigation is underway. Sexual photos being shared. The pics taken off campus. Transmitted initially via social media. The pics of middle school students.

Parents, pull your hair out!

A haircut at noon yesterday with Lori. She told me about her recent long weekend Caribbean cruise. Fun. She recommends it.

At one point, the water got rough. Her stomach began to flutter. The remedy was to drink more, she said. The alcohol balanced out the woozy stomach.

Stopped at Farmers Market afterwards. To buy bread. A young immigrant couple sells their home made bread under one of the tents. I who ask everyone everything have never asked them where they came from. The bread is delicious. I bought 15 small loaves. I freeze the bread.

Ran into Boomer at Farmers Market.

The Chart Room and Hot Tin Roof last night. Both places relatively quiet. The Montana couple sat at the bar near me.

The Sons and Daughters of Italy present Buonasera Venezia tonight from 5-8 at the Bottlecap.
A charity fundraiser. I will be there. With Liz. She called yesterday and said she wanted to go. Venice her favorite place. She and her now deceased husband spent many happy days in Venice.

I have been visiting or living in Key West more than 25 years. When first I came, the men did not wear jackets. Dress jackets. Sport jackets. Then one could be noticed every few months. We locals would look at each other and quietly whisper…..Tourists.

I see more and more men wearing jackets the past couple of years. Especially the past few months. Especially when cold. Even however when it is merely part of the dress costume for the evening.

Includes locals.

Key West is changing.

Poet John Keats died in February 1821. Twenty five years old. One of the world’s best romantic sonnet writers.

Keats died in his bedroom in Rome. A four story narrow building at 26 Piazza di Spagna. Immediately next to the Spanish Steps.

I was in Rome 35 years ago with my family for a  month. My wife and daughters deserted me one day to shop. The American dollar was strong. Everything cost one-third of what it did back home.

I was walking around. Sat a while on the Spanish Steps and watched the world go by. Took a walk. Passed the building described. A small brass sign on the side of the door read The Keats Shelley House.

I went in. Explored the four floors. The top floor was the important one.

Keats’ bedroom had been preserved as it was at the time of his death. An outer room had some of his first edition books and manuscripts of his writings. All under glass.

I came across one writing that moved me emotionally.

Recall first that Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg  Address on a brown paper bag. The bag that had carried his lunch.

Keats wrote the opening stanzas of one of his most famous poems on a piece of crumbled paper. The opening lines to Endymion. A several volume work.

Few know Endymion. Most know its opening lines as penciled in on that piece of crumbled paper: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever…..”

Tomorrow at noon Syracuse/Virginia. Tough game. Virginia ranked #9 nationally. I refuse to get excited in spite of Syracuse’s spectacular victory over North Carolina State earlier this week.

I just remembered! I will not be watching the game. At noon, I will be marching in Steve Attis’ New Orleans funeral parade. Followed by mass at St. Mary’s Church.

Enjoy your day!