ZOMBIE BIKE RIDE / CRZBS

Last night was the final evening of Gombay. I did not go out. It poured heavy several times during the evening. I hope it did not disrupt Goombay too much.

Today, the beginning of Fantasy Fest itself. Shed your clothes and join in!

Joking.

Tonight at 6, the Zombie Bike Ride. Thousands will participate. Riders costumed and made up. Some scary weird. Bikes decorated, also.

Bicycles big in Key West. Sole means of transportation for many.

Though not an official part of Fantasy Fest, Kate Miano’s Gardens from 5:30-8:00. Kate’s sunday evening event has become a Key West tradition.

Entertaining this evening are the CRZBs. Supposed to be  excellent. A jazz ensemble. The only player I know is Skipper Kripitz. An excellent drummer and an extremely fine person.

Sunday at the Gardens always a fun time.

My day yesterday was watching the Syracuse/Miami game. Syracuse lost 27-19. A different play result here or there, the score could have been reversed.

Syracuse played poorly in the first half. Dungey had nothing working for him. His second half a beauty, however!

Syracuse’s defense excellent.

If I had to pick one item that contributed big time to Miami’s victory, it was their speed. Fast off the line. It took almost all of the first half for Syracuse to accommodate.

Syracuse has gained momentum as the season has worn on. They will make a bowl this year. Next year, watch out! Dungey back!

King and Queen of Fantasy Fest have been identified. King is “Saint Paul” Murphy. Queen, Destiny Montgomery.

I know Destiny. Sings often with the Dueling Bartenders. A lovely young lady with a magnificent voice!

Several years ago, a local group worked hard to bring a film festival to Key West. They succeeded. This year’s Key West Film Festival is scheduled for November 15-18. Thirty films will be shown.

This day in 1962, President John Kennedy announced he had ordered a blockade of Cuba in response to Soviet missiles being installed in Cuba. Kennedy warned the U.S. was ready to retaliate if any missiles were launched.

The Cuban missile crisis was upon us. The crisis continued for six days. A nuclear war was imminent. no question about it. Either the Soviet Union backed off and removed them or a nuclear war would occur.

Naval war vessels from both sides were face to face in the waters between Key West and Cuba.

Both sides came to an agreement and war was avoided.

It was an emotional moment to watch on TV the Russian vessels turning around to return to Russia.

Feelings were high. The situation tense. What is happening presently with North Korea kid stuff in comparison. Though no less serious.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev a nut. Similar to Trump, far worse.

Key West was in the middle of the fracas. Artillery guns were erected on Smathers and other beaches pointing towards Cuba. Military personnel were transported quickly and in large numbers to Key West.

Khrushchev blinked. Fortunate for everyone. Kennedy had met the enemy and beat him.

Some things are nor readily revealed to us via the media. An example is the Executive Order Trump signed this past week recalling 1,000 retired pilots to active duty.

We are fighting in so many places that we have an insufficient military personnel. Another example is that the military has lowered its standards for successful enlistment. The U.S. will now accept applicants who have a marijuana history.

For several years, I have suggested a return to the draft or mandatory military time following high school graduation.

I believe we would be in fewer wars if more families were directly involved. A President and Congress would be reluctant to engage in new wars if the people back home had a direct personal interest in those fighting.

Still waiting on Irma and Me. I had a desire for strawberry ice cream at 3 this morning!

Enjoy your Sunday!

I DINED WELL

Good company, good food, good drink. More a person could not ask for.

Last night was one of those times. I dined well. At Donna and Terri’s. Donna cooked, Terri sang and I enjoyed. Donna is a superior cook. Terri bursting into song cannot be excelled. I was the perfect sponge. Absorbed everything.

It amazes me how well Terri looked. She had a chemo day thursday. Last night, you would never know she had the chemo nor cancer.

The weather continued to be bad yesterday. Poured off and on. Big time. Last night, especially. Supposed to rain into next week. Unusual. Summer is upon us. Rains every day. Like 5-10 minutes. Not pour. This is crazy!

Pride Week. Big goings on. Today, a street festival. 700-900 blocks of Duval blocked off. Through midnight. Tomorrow, Pride Parade. Five pm. The length of Duval.

Key West is a writer’s paradise. Not only novels and short stories, poetry also. Poetry writing significant.

The Key West Poet Laureate for 2017 has been announced. Flower Conroy.

In addition to national recognition, her work has been locally acknowledged. She won the Tennessee Williams Poetry Contest, the Richard Heyman Award, and is the recipient of a 2017 grant from the Anne McKee Artist Fund to produce an anthology of poetry for the five day workshop Conroy recently lead at the Key West Library.

Bobby Nesbitt and Skipper Kripitz. Two outstanding Key West entertainers. Two nice guys. This wednesday evening, they will appear for the last time at The Room. A recognition “the season” has ended. They will return in the Fall.

The Key West City Commission declared a new activity. Several months late in beginning. Third delay of its start announced.

I am referring to the Duval Loop Bus. Part of a plan to reduce traffic and congestion on Duval.

A 16 stop free bus service. I have to smile. Needed parking spaces will be eliminated to accommodate most of the bus stops. The bus itself when stopped will delay traffic in many instances.

The bus was supposed to be ready for operation in December. Unable to. Not enough drivers. Second time, bus wraps (whatever they are) and promotional materials had not arrived.

Bus drivers have been hired. Still cannot use them on the Loop service. The third delay has been announced. Something about a 3 inch wide pole not yet finished. The poles are required at the stops. Hurricane problems require a bigger pole. Not normal. Special manufacture apparently.

In the meantime, bus drivers must be paid or the City will lose them. They are filling in on City buses.

Sounds like money wasted to me.

Not strange. Not unusual. Everything the City does is late and one way or another costs more money.

Did you notice? Trump never mentions Russia and its intrusion into our election system. Why not? It is the key reason for the investigation.

I continue the Trump emboldening Saudi Arabia kick.

After Trump’s visit, no question Trump and Saudi Arabia asshole buddies. A logical conclusion if Trump is close to Saudi Arabia, then the U.S. must be also.

Saudi Arabi is on Qatar’s back for spreading terrorism. Makes me laugh! The Middle East’s biggest supporter of terrorism has been Saudi Arabia.

Trump yesterday announced the U.S. would no longer provide “high level” support to Qatar. He forgets we have a major military base in Qatar with 10,000 military personnel stationed there.

One hour after Trump’s statement, Tillerson announced Saudi Arabia should lift its blockade and talk things out with Qatar. His opinion being that the Saudi/Qatar conflict was affecting the war on ISIS.

Trump and Tillerson messages not in sync. Typical however of what we have come to expect from the Trump administration. The left hand many times does not know what the right is doing. Described another way, the President went off on his own without consultation with his Secretary of State.

The Belmont today. Some of the excitement lost. Neither the Kentucky Derby winner nor the Preakness winner are entered.

Enjoy your day!

35 VICTORIOUS YEARS

No, not sick yesterday. Had some morning business matters that required attention. Thank you for your concern.

Little guys can beat the big eyes. Small nations can defeat or take the best of larger nations. One example being the colonists in 1776 who eventually beat the mighty Great Britain. Another the Vietnamese who eventually forced us out of Vietnam.

Key West’s population a steady 25,000 over the years. The United States 330 million. Yet every year for 35 consecutive years, the tiny Conch Republic has defeated the forces of the United States.

Last night was the Great Sea Battle. As anticipated, the Conch Republic won. A tiny pirate ship and other small boats beating vessels of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Conch Air Force consisting of pre-World War II bi-planes defeating  U.S. Navy jets from Boca Chica.

An exciting evening!

I watched from the Ocean Key House Pier. Cheered the Conch Republic on. Got wet from the spray.

Did the Chart Room before and after. Crowded. John bartending.

KONK E-Blast ran an interesting article and video this morning. A Deputy Sheriff on duty observed a meteor. He followed it with his dashcam. Through the sky till it is exploded. The explosion visible, also.

Two of Key West’s premier entertainers are teaming up to do a wednesday night event beginning this wednesday. Bobby Nesbitt will sing and play the piano. Skipper Kripitz, the drums. Both together at the Little Room Jazz Club.

Bocce thursday night a disaster. My team lost all three games. If the trend continues, I am going to come off the inactive list.

The team is having a difficult season. Hard to understand. For at least 5 years, the team one of the top ones. Good! All of a sudden, cannot do anything right. Inexplicable.

The State has reported no ZIKA disease found in mosquito samples this year.

Trump stated friday his first hundred days were “just about the most successful in our country’s history.”

Trump set the standard for what his accomplishments would be. Other than a Supreme Court Justice, he failed from my perspective. It has to appear that way to his supporters, also. Unless they are so blind they cannot see. Better stated, do not wish to see.

I expect a deluge of comments tomorrow morning disagreeing with me.

Where o’ where is the USS Carl Vinson?

We are concerned with North Korea. The Vinson part of a “carrier armada” Trump told us was on its way to North Korean waters. The carrier was first diverted to war  games in the Indian Ocean. Games have been long over. Vinson does not yet appear to have reached the North Korea area.

Information in the Indian Ocean days was that the Vinson could make the 3,000 miles to North Korea in four days by traveling at full speed. Thirty five mph.

On April 28, 1945, the dead bodies of Mussolini and his mistress were hung upside down from a grid at a gasoline service station site in Milan.

On my first visit to Novara several years ago, I visited Milan often. A half hour train ride away. Anna is very familiar with Milan. She attended college there and then worked in Milan for several years.

The gas station where Mussolini was hung was one of the places we visited. All I could think was deserved retribution.

More robot/artificial intelligence information.

A Chinese technologist Kai-Fu Lee claims that within ten years  artificial intelligence will replace humans in 50 percent of all jobs.

We should/must pay more intelligence to robots and artificial intelligence.

A couple of Key West/Hollywood connections.

Gloria Swanson spent several of her younger school years living in Key West. Her father was stationed here with the U.S. Army.

On a yacht trip in 1939, Swanson returned to Key West with several friends. Spent a few days learning about Key West anew.

Big star Jennifer Jones and equally big director David O. Selznick guested at La Concha in April 1946. They were not married at the time. What is common place now was not back then. Non-marrieds sharing a hotel room frowned upon.

Selznick was married to another. My recollection, Jones was divorced.

We end on a happy note. One involving a sad despicable place. On this day in 1945, the Dachau concentration camp in Germany was liberated by U.S. troops.

Enjoy your day!

 

SYPHILIS IN KEY WEST

Syphilis is a venereal disease of old. A cure available. A quick one. Penicillin. The disease still around, however. Just not in significant numbers.

Six months ago, Key West had no syphilis cases. Recently, 10. An epidemic of sorts.

Nine of the 10 involve 18 and 19 year old males. Recent high school graduates. The final one a much older male.

Investigation revealed the 9 young ones got the disease post-graduation.

Authorities advised the infection not necessarily gay acquired.

The matter remains under investigation. The initial Key West source of the infection and others who may be infected.

Some things just never go away.

I have two pair of horn rimmed glasses. Thirty or more years old. Lens replaced, never the frames. Love the frames! Cost $700 each when purchased. Think I got my money’s worth.

One of the frames broke. Old age probably. I took the glasses to Key West Optical yesterday. Located in the gray shopping center on Kennedy and Flagler.

They were able to fix the frame! No guaranty how long the repair will last. Whatever, I am thrilled. I am wearing the glasses at the moment.

Key West Optical good people. Not the first time I have gone in for a repair. Always happy to help. Always no charge.

Moved on to K-Mart. Need a small table and stool. Did not have the size I needed. I want to move my video show outside. The background would be magnificent.

Then to Don’s Place. No room in the parking lot or street. Did not get to stop. No disappointment. I will see my Don’s Place / bocce friends tonight at bocce.

The Chart Room the next stop. Chatted with John a bit.

Steve Kelly seated next to me at the bar. Mid-50s. From West Chester, Pennsylvania. With his friend Pete. Both staying at the Pier House. Prior Key West visitors.

Steve and I hit it off immediately. A lot in common. An interesting conversation.

Steve is in a family business. His Mom and Dad started it. He runs it now. His son works with him and will take over when Steve walks away.

The business involves sporting goods. Athletic equipment. Called Kelly’s Sports. Sells directly to public and private institutions, as well as the public. University, colleges, and private schools. Sells also to booster clubs, parent organizations and fan clubs.

A big operation. One hundred employees. We laughed about payroll.

Steve and his son have been moving the business into internet sales. The wave of the future that is already here.

Easily observable was that Steve is proud of the business. His third generation family business.

I have been on a diet. Nothing even close to heavy. Yogurt and cottage cheese. Needed a steak last night. A small one. Stopped at Outback for their 6 ounce filet mignon and steamed vegetables. Like I had not eaten in several days. I had not!

Watched McDonald’s All American High School Basketball on TV. Some of the kids are good. They know it. You can see it in their faces.

My grandson John played on a Niki All American Team eight years ago. I traveled to see him. Think it was Charlotte. John was good. Not Division 1 good. He played at Albany State for four years. Captained the team in his senior year.

John is now in his last year of law school.

Moving back to the afternoon for a moment, I did some legal research. An issue I wanted to resolve. I felt like a lawyer again.

Skipper Kripitz is one of the most loved persons in Key West. Also, one of its best musicians. Skipper plays the drums.

He arranges the Tuesday night show at Virgilio’s. Always a sell out. This coming Tuesday the Savage Beets.

I read a write up on the show. Skipper was described as ubiquitous. A big word. Smart as I think I am, I did not know what it meant. Looked it up. Defined as found everywhere. Applies to Skipper. He is all over town playing.

Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway in my life the past 24 hours.

I could not sleep during the night. Watched an old movie on TV. The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. I have seen the movie at least a dozen times. The story and setting turn me on. Filmed in Rome.

Tennessee William’s in the credits. First time I noted it. Williams wrote the novel from which the movie was made.

The Ernest Hemingway tale disturbs me. Love Ernest Hemingway!

A Nicholas Reynolds wrote a new book: Writer, Sailor, Soldier: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961.

The book sacrilegious in part.

Reynolds writes Hemingway was a Russian spy 1940-41. Doing espionage for the Soviet Union. Worked with the NKVD, predecessor to the KGB. His cover name Argo.

Attempted to verify the representation. Hard to do. A prior book written in 2009 suggested the same, but indicated Hemingway probably did it to get background for a novel.

I did not have time to research further. Patrick, if the subject interests you, do a little digging and let me know what you come up with.

Have to hustle. A haircut appointment.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS TWO DAYS LATE

Tonight, my podcast show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Blog Talk radio had a technical difficulty last week. My show never aired. Neither I nor listeners were able to get in.

Last week’s lead topic never heard will be presented tonight. The American Christmas Story. Two days after Christmas. The story still fitting. One most of you have not heard. A touch of paganism, its celebration banned in Boston in the late 1600s, not a celebrated holiday during our revolutionary years, A Christmas Carol, Civil War impact, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and on and on till today.

Join me at 9 my time. A quick interesting half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Last night, Aqua! Monday night. Dueling bartenders time.

Liz and friends Mary and Josefina at the bar. I joined them.

Liz’s relative Christina was there. With Brian. Liz and Christina are related. Christina and Brian Liz’s house guests for the holiday.

Sheila at the other end of the bar. Went over for a kiss.

Tom and Rick singing. Bria a visiting performer. She stopped by for a moment and gave me absolution once more for my poorly expressed thoughts concerning her several weeks ago.

Tom sitting next to me. Met him for the first time. His wife Claire with him. I did not get to talk with Claire unfortunately.

Tom, a retired attorney. A major law firm partner. He and Claire live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Key West visitors for many years. Snowbirds. Presently here for a four month stay.

Claire has an interesting background. Initially, a science teacher. Then returned to school herself and obtained a Doctorate. In statistics. Returned to the working world as a professional statistician.

Walked over to Bourbon St. following Aqua. Bria sings monday nights. I was unaware she would be appearing also at Aqua last night. I enjoy Bria’s singing so treated myself to seeing her twice in one evening in two different venues.

Syracuse basketball tonight. Cornell. Syracuse should win.

The true test of the team’s ability begins January 1 when the ACC starts its season. Syracuse plays Boston College New Year’s Day.

I fear I am going to bleed a lot of orange this season!

Debra and Patrick back in town! Great entertainers. The best. There was a time they spent the season at La Te Da. No more. They moved north to Richmond, Virginia. Return sporadically to Key West.

Tuesday January 3, Debra and Patrick will appear at Virgilio’s as part of Skipper Kripitz’s League of Crafty Musicians. On saturday January 7, they will appear from 5-8 at Salute’s Sunset Happy Hour.

Do yourself a favor. Go listen to Debra sing and Patrick play.

Only in Key West. This saturday at noon the annual Dachshund Walk. Other dogs may participate. Costumes suggested. Noon at the Monroe County Courthouse.

Enjoy your day!

EVENING NOT AS PLANNED

The best laid plans of mice and men…..

My evening was planned. Syracuse basketball. I rarely miss a game. Everything else is pushed to the side.

There were two other things that could have been on my plate last night.

The annual Pier House Christmas Show. Starring dear friends Larry Smith, Kathleen Peace, Skipper Kripitz and Christine Cordone. Syracuse basketball superseded them.

The other was dinner with Cheryl and Roger. Now living in Cape Coral, they are visiting Key West for two weeks. Cocktails instead. Syracuse basketball taking priority.

I had lunch yesterday at the Pier House Beach Bar. Lovely Jaynine bartending. I could hear singing coming from the outer deck by the old Wine Galley. Knew the voice. Kathleen Peace!

I walked back to say hello. Larry and Skipper rehearsing with Kathleen. Hugs, kisses and a few moments of chatting. Told Larry I would not be there in the evening. Syracuse basketball. He could not understand why I would pick basketball over the show.

Different strokes for different folks.

An observation. Larry, Kathleen, Skipper and Christine are Key West. I repeat, they are Key West. None more representative.

I met Cheryl and Roger at the Sq. 1  bar at 5. They knew I would be leaving at 6:30 to watch the Syracuse game. It was good to see them. It had been several months. A couple of drinks and appetizers. At exactly 6:30, I left for home.

I settled in my recliner and turned on the TV. The game had already started. The score 10-10. The next thing I knew it was the start of overtime. I had fallen asleep and missed the whole game!

Some days I can’t win for losing.

Syracuse lost to Wisconsin in overtime 66-58. The sports news this morning indicates Syracuse played poorly. One problem was the boards. Syracuse was out rebounded 51-25.

On to the next game.

My yesterday began with the anti-gravity treadmill. I am into something new. Working on my heart rate. I go fast for 30 seconds and then to a slow walk for 2 minutes. Not jogging. Walking very fast. Reached the highest speeds yet that way. As long as it does not kill me, it is good for me.

Keys History this morning reported that on this day in 1900 a ship left Key West for New York. The ship carried 1,846,000 cigars which had been made in Key West. A lot of cigars! What an industry! Gone now from Key West.

My friend Anna lives in Navara, Italy. We have not communicated in months. Received an e-mail from her yesterday. It was in Italian. Strange. She always writes in English. There was a warning across the e-mail. Do not open. People will steal your money, etc.

I did not open. Forwarded it to Anna, however.

An hour later, I received a telephone call from Anna. She was sitting in the Novara police station. Someone got into her e-mail. One of her bank accounts was already 5,700 euros light. About $8,000 American money. She warned me not to open the e-mail sent me which I already knew.

She telephoned again later when she returned home. She was obviously upset. Anna is affluent. However, also conservative. Watches every penny.

She was in Chamonix last weekend. A small ski town over the Italian border in France. About an hour’s drive from her home. For the first time, she had to show ID before she was permitted to enter France.

It was reported this morning that Saudi Arabia has scheduled a mass execution of 50 persons. All political activists, except for a Palestinian poet. All to be beheaded at one time.

I wonder how it is going to be done. I reported a year ago that Saudi Arabia was publicly advertising for beheaders. More were needed. Understandable. Saudi Arabia big at beheading.

Is each person to be executed to have his/her own beheader? Or, will one do all 50? I am not trying to be funny. Based on the want ad last year, that many executions at one time could be a problem for Saudi Arabia.

I love Saudi Arabia! They gave us $4 a gallon gasoline, 17 of the 21 9/11 terrorists were Saudi Arabian citizens. The same Saudi Arabia that is supposedly our friend. Saudi Arabia also has refused to take any of the Syrian refugees in. Their own people. Muslims.

Enjoy your day!

 

MIDSUMMER’S EVE CELEBRATION

Dancing and frivolity of old will exist once again tomorrow evening in Key West. At East Martello. Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle. In its ninth year.

The show, though proper in every respect, is a throwback to pagan days when the beginning of summer was celebrated with  big time partying. Way before Shakespeare’s time.

The show is Michael Shield’s baby. The originator nine years ago, he has continued to produce the event every year. Co-producer is the Key West Art & Historical Society.

My dear friend Jenna Stauffer is the emcee. I can visualize her in days of old. Prancing around in her fairy wings, tip toeing through the tulips. Orchestration by Skipper Kripitz. Perhaps the most honorable man in Key West. Singers include Larry Smith and Kathleen Peace. I love Kathleen! I love her singing! The walls of the East Martello Fort will shake during her performance.

My day yesterday began with a noon walk along the Atlantic Ocean. In the heat of the day. Not the best time. However, I did it. Then to the Cuban Coffee Queen for Cuban cheese toast and Cuban coffee.

Steve Braddock is a care giving Key Wester. He is a Catholic priest. He is active in assisting the homeless. A Saint Francis.

He is pissed off. The Lower Keys Medical Center claims he owes a balance for a hospital stay. $1,975. The hospital has sued in Small Claims Court. Before suit and since, Braddock has asked for an itemized bill. No itemized bill has been forthcoming.

The good priest is aware from prior assistance to the homeless that hospitals have a tendency to overcharge. Dramatically. He is defending himself in court. I would not want to have him as an opponent under the circumstances.

We have genocide in the United States. I refer to it as American genocide. The killing of blacks by whites. It has been going on since the earliest days of our country. It has to stop. Will it ever? I do not know.

The last 48 hours have brought the story of nine blacks in a church bible class shot by a white 21 year old. The place, Charleston, South Carolina. The 21 year old, Dylan Storm Roof. The killings in cold blood.

During the shootings, he said…..I have to do it…..you rape our women and you’ve taken over our country, and you have to go.

Roof has a history evidencing a drug problem. His father gave him a gun for his 21st birthday.

Roof was obviously misinformed as to the black conduct he described during the shootings. Probably heard it at the dinner table from his father.

These shootings are what they are. Racial hatred expressed with a gun. It must end! Otherwise as I have been saying on my blog talk radio show, the battle will not be between police and blacks. It will be blacks against whites. A people will take abuse only so long. There is a new generation of blacks and they will not be as patient and forbearing as their forefathers.

Anna is in Camogli. She has a beach front apartment. Camogli is part of the Italian Riviera. Next door is Portofino. Home of the renown Silvio Berlusconi. His close friend Putin has built a home nearby.

Tomorrow night’s emcee Jenna Stauffer is my date tonight. We are going to dinner. Love Jenna!

Enjoy your day!