My Yesterday…..Research, Berlin’s, and Bria Ansara

 

Enjoyed my yesterday.

Researched all day. Love digging for information.

Berlin’s last night for dinner. A full house. Got the last seat at the bar. The meal excellent as was Bria Ansara. Her singing touching everyone.

A big night ahead.

Syracuse/Duke at 6:15 on ESPN. Duke ranked #5 nationally. Going to be a tough game. Syracuse needs the win. We shall see.

Dinner with Donna and Terri tonight at La Trattoria. Cocktails first at their home. I have to see Bear. It has been a week.

Key West the home of writers. One, Tennessee Williams. Lived here more than 40 years. Williams died this day in 1983.

Williams’ The Glass Menagerie played yesterday afternoon on Turner Classics. I captured a small portion of its end. I have seen The Glass Menagerie at least twenty times. Amazed each time by the power of Williams’ words.

Spent a bit of time watching CPAC. Second day in a row. The first day, wild screaming Wayne La Pierre. Barbarians at the gate.

Yesterday, the master of exuberance Donald Trump. He was before his people. That 37 percent.

CPAC an ultra conservative group. Not the conservatives of yesteryear, however. Neither Barry Goldwaters nor Ronald Reagans.

What I saw were extremists. Too many Lock Her Up chants. Encouraged of course by Trump. He beat Hillary. I do not understand why he cannot let the dead rest.

The audience reminded me of street thugs. A tough appearing and tough acting crowd. The absolute fringe of the Republican Party.

Their apparent rowdiness meshed well with the Trump we have come to know.

CPAC had difficulty attracting speakers. Prominent politicians avoided the show. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, for example. The only Senator was Texas’ Cruz.

I cannot understand Cruz. During the primary, Trump accused Cruz’s father of being involved somehow in the Kennedy assassination. Cruz now sucking up to the man.

Prominent non office holders also absent. None!

The speakers consisted of Trump and members of his White House staff. Plus FOX News.

Even the mighty fall. Inner corrosion eats away.

The Douglas High School shooting the beginning of the end of the NRA as a power in American politics. The wrong group attacked. High school children. They have no fear. They are like a snowball that starts rolling down a hill. Small at the beginning. Gets larger with every turn. The students with every day.

Corporate America is turning its back on the NRA. Several have severed ties with the NRA. Ties involving co-branding partnerships, discounts to NRA members credit cards, etc. An economic blow to the NRA. Swiftly like a saber decapitating a person.

Corporations involved include Hertz, Avis, Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, Symantec, Enterprise, Chubb Limited, MetLife, Delta, and American Airlines.

Justice comes in many forms. One the soon to be filed bankruptcy application by Remington. In trouble financially. The filing will be for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company may survive. Whether it will be the giant it has been for two centuries remains to be seen.

Remington began in 1816 in Ilion, NY. Fifteen miles from my hometown of Utica. Remington remains the major employer to this day in Ilion. It also has other plants throughout the United States.

Remington is America’s oldest gun maker. A definite part of  American gun culture. The name Remington appears on frontier flintlocks as well as US Army .45’s.

I learned something in the last 24 hours while researching this topic.

Guns sales rose dramatically in the 10 years prior to Trump’s election. Since his election, sales have fallen dramatically. The reason is gun sales rise when politicos are elected who want to pursue more stringent gun control laws. People run to stack up on guns.

Trump supports the NRA, its members, etc. Gun laws supposedly not going anywhere under him. So gun lovers fear not and buy fewer guns.

Such has been Trump’s first year. Till now. I am assuming gun sales have shot upward based on post Douglas talk.

The down trend in gun sales is one reason Remington got into financial trouble. The other is that it was a Remington manufactured AR-15 that killed the first and second graders at Sandy Hook. Remington has borne the burden of defending against lawsuits arising out of the Sandy Hook incidence, though Remington itself was not found liable. Lawyers cost money. Especially in big money cases.

A side note of interest. Remington built a new plant in Huntsville, Alabama in 2014 to manufacture AR-15s. Prior to 2014, they were manufactured at the Ilion plant.

A soap box morning. Required sometimes. Things have to be said. People made aware.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

PROFESSIONALISM AT ITS BEST

Pain an interesting thing. Activity limiting. Kept me home and down again yesterday.

I am still suffering. Getting better, however. I can now sit. Bed the problem. Can only lay in one position painless. Not my normal position. A small turn in bed and the shot of pain wakes me.

I watched the New England Patriots game yesterday. Tom Brady phenomenal. Professionalism at its best.

Tom Brady was drafted by the Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft. Not in the first round as one would expect. Rather the sixth round. A cheap dollar pickup for the Patriots. He was the 199th person drafted that year.

Today, the hottest commodity in professional football. At age 40, he is still playing as if in his 20’s. His throws perfection.

When the day comes that he is no longer a player, Brady would like to be a U.S. Senator. A welcome addition to the present inepts in Washington.

Trust. A virtue not to be found in Washington.

A vote at noon today to lift the shut down. The vote based on an alleged deal made between McConnell and the Democrats: Support a continuing resolution till February 8. Keep the government going. I/we promise that come 2/8 if the issues of concern to the Democrats have not been resolved, we promise to work on them further and bring each to a vote.

I would not buy it. Hope the Democrats do not buy it. Each side dishonorable. The Democrats should not blink. Keep the government shut down till the problems of concern are successfully worked out.

Reagan said with regard to nuclear deals with the Russians…..Trust, but verify. No way to verify other than pushing for all concerned to work extra long hours and get the job done. Then vote.

The country can stay closed 3-4 weeks. The last time a similar situation occurred, it was closed 16 days. I would also insist on a proviso that Congress not be paid till the task gets done.

The noon vote, if it occurs, will be interesting.

Trust has become a U.S. problem internationally under Trump. His word cannot be relied upon.

Russia and China are taking full advantage. Russia is extending its power/influence over Ukraine and Syria unabated.

China grows stronger in the South China Seas and economically. Economically as regards the Chines yuan. The yuan is replacing the American dollar as currency in certain oil trades.

Trump precipitated the dollar/yuan problem by threatening to invade Venezuela and cutting off Pakistan from financial aid. The leaders of each country said up yours to Trump and announced they were moving over to the yuan.

To lighter matters.

Key West has free ranging chickens living on its streets. Tourists think they are cute. Most locals consider them foul.

In 2004 and after much discussion, the City Commissioners decided to rid Key West of the chickens. A chicken catcher was hired on January 22. Armando Parra, Sr. A barber and self proclaimed self taught bird catcher.

He quit on August 4.

His contract was to run to September 1.

He was to be paid $20 per chicken caught, with a 900 chicken limit. He caught 542 before quitting. The number considered one quarter of the chicken population.

Parra claimed he quit because the City Commission was mini-managing him. What streets to work, where to leave the chickens alone, etc. His general impression was the City was not committed to eliminating the chickens.

No one has dealt with the problem since. The chicken population grows. Chickens are prolific. Their gestation period 29 days.

Five years ago, I wrote a lengthy article for KONK Life regarding cursive writing. A dying art. Taught in very few schools. The computer key board was considered more important to students than the ability to hand write.

I thought the move stupid. A generation has now grown that cannot hand write their names.

Change is in the air. Fourteen States and New York City’s elementary schools now mandate that cursive writing be taught. More are expected to join.

One reason put forth to teaching cursive writing again is the belief it helps the student to learn if he/she must hand write it.

Of course, computer keyboards will remain. Combined, double edged teaching tools.

Enjoy your day!

 

TEAR DOWN THE WALL

Two events have occurred in my lifetime which I consider momentous. Man on the moon and the Berlin Wall coming down. No other event excels.

Man walking on the moon blew my mind. A real WOW! Inconceivable.

The Berlin Wall went up in 1969. Communist Russia and the United states were at each other’s throats for years. Fear of war overwhelmed us.

On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin wall and said to Secretary Gorbachev, “Take down this wall!”

Reagan had brass balls.

The Wall came down two years later. The Berlin people themselves knocked it down. Brick by brick, stone by stone.

Absolutely amazing!

The Soviet Union would dissolve two years later. Who would have thought?

Pride and Women’s Equality Parades yesterday. Both successful events. Crowds on the sidewalk cheering. Pride floats magnificent. Everyone happy!

One hundred feet of the Rainbow Flag was carried the length of the Parade.

The group on one of the floats kept repeating : Love, not hate, that’s what makes America great. A fitting slogan. A better variation on anything Trump has said thus far.

Today in Bayview Park, 49 Rainbow Flags are flying to commemorate the 49 lives lost one year ago today at Orlando’s Pulse Club.  In addition, a one hundred foot section of the Rainbow Flag flies in Orlando today.

Love one another!

William Hackley’s diary entry of yesterday in 1856 noted that his daughter Lucia had the chicken pox.

I recall the chicken pox when I had them at 3 or 4 years of age. My father dabbing me with calamine lotion to ease the itching.

Then came my four children. All close in age. We had 4 in 5 years.

They all came down with chicken pox the same summer. Not all at once, however. One every two weeks. A long summer!

I did as my father. Dabbed the sores with calamine lotion.

Qatar a problem place. For a short time, I hope. Muscle flexing by Saudi Arabia and a few other Arab states.

Qatar is small. Very small. Very rich. It has huge supplies of natural gas. Qatar and Iran have shared the benefits of the natural gas together for years.

Qatar has hired former Attorney General John Ashcroft and his law firm to represent Qatar in its problems with Saudi Arabia and others. Ashcroft was Attorney General under Bush 2.

The pay is good. A retainer of $2.5 million. For only the first 90 days of work.

Terri sings tonight with the Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

USS KEY WEST

The Key West Citizen showed a partial picture of the submarine USS Key West front page this morning. The replica was part of the Veterans Day Parade yesterday.

The picture tickled my interest. I researched the USS Key West.

There have been three USS Key Wests over the years. The first was a steamer during the Civil War. The second a World War II frigate. The third the submarine represented in the parade.

The submarine was launched in 1985. The vessel has spent its entire career in the Pacific. Remains active.

I have been dieting since monday. Satisfied so far. However, I have had to control myself. Have remained in every evening. As explained in an earlier blog, I have to avoid the near occasions of sin for me. Food and drink. I am weak.

Tonight, I am going out. I miss people. Need to have their company. Need to converse.

Syracuse basketball began this week. Syracuse beat Colgate 83-55. Not to get excited about. The first several games each season are played against teams of lesser quality. Warm up games.

The lesser talented schools come to the Carrier Dome knowing they will be beaten. Not a problem for the school’s administration.

The superior college pays a stipend to the less able one to take the beating. Dollars sufficiently significant to induce the lesser talented school to participate.

Syracuse football today. Against North Carolina State. Each team 4-5. North Carolina a seven point favorite.

Syracuse may lose. Our extremely talented sophomore  quarterback Eric Dungey may not play. He was injured in last week’s Clemson game.

On this day in history 1948, 25 convicted Japanese war criminals were sentenced, Seven received death sentences. One, Tojo. The trial took 30 months.

One of my law school professors was Robert Miller. I took two of his classes. Criminal Law and Evidence.

Miller had an interesting background. He was one of the defense attorneys in the trial. He occasionally peppered our classes with stories from trial.

In the 1970s and 1980s, I visited La Costa frequently. A health spa. I called it a fat farm. People went there to lose weight and tone up their bodies. Easy to do on 800 calories a day and a 9-5 exercise regimen.

La Costa is located outside San Diego.

Movie stars took advantage of the program. People like William Holden, Rodney Dangerfield, and Arlene Dahl. Repeat customers, we became friends.

William Holden died this day in 1981. I got to know him well during our visits. Alcohol was a no no. We would sit together in a quiet lounge drinking Perrier and smoking cigars in the evening.

Holden was a gentleman. Water volleyball was one of the exercise activities. Twice a day. Holden was always the first out of the pool to retrieve a ball.

He was short. Surprisingly so. Like 5′ 6″ at best. Maybe 1 or 2 inches less. I asked how he always looked so tall in the movies. Always equal to or taller than the ladies he would kiss. He laughed.

Back in those days, bottled Coca Cola came in wood cases. Cases would be stacked one upon the other. He stood on the cases, thereby conveying his tall appearance.

The USS Constitution is the oldest U.S. vessel in service. The Constitution had two contacts with Key West.

The story begins with this installment 11 based on Key West Rotary history.

At the December 31, 1931 luncheon meeting of the Key West Rotary, Commander Louis G. Gulliver was guest speaker. He was the commanding officer of the Constitution.

The Constitution had arrived that morning in Key West. It was located at the foot of Duval Street.

The Constitution had been reconditioned at a cost of $12 million. Earlier in 1931, the Constitution began a three year 90 port visit.

That morning alone in Key West, over 500 people had already visited the Constitution.

The Constitution was a wood hulled three masted frigate. Long in history even in 1931. George Washington had named the Constitution. Her first engagements were in the quasi-war with France and the defeat of the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.

The quasi-French War interesting. The U.S. owed France money. The French Revolution occurred. The U.S. refused to pay the Revolutionary government. The U.S. position was that the money was owed to the King’s government which no longer existed.

During the several years of Revolutionary government, the U.S. and France warred. Never on land. Only on the sea.

The Constitution was highly successful. Captured many merchant vessels and sunk five battleships.

There was a move in the late 1920s to decommission the Constitution. It was in terrible shape. Need refurbishing big time.

The public cried out a loud no. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a poem in tribute to the vessel. Many believe Holmes’ poem contributed greatly to the saving of the Constitution.

Today, the Constitution is being reconditioned once again. A three year restoration at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Massachusetts.

There is another connection with Key West. Not a big deal. Significant nevertheless.

A model of the USS Constitution under glass is located on the second floor south porch of The Little White House.

The 200th anniversary of the Constitution took place in 1997. On July 21 in Boston Harbor, the Constitution proudly sailed in an armada of tall ships. The Constitution rang out a 21 gun salute during the sail.

I was there in Boston Harbor. Exciting. Moving.

I was on my son in law Mark’s boat. Us and a thousand other vessels. So it seemed. Celebrating an American day!

Enjoy your day!