The season has arrived. Unquestionably.

From what I can see, not as many tourists as normal. Might be Irma and the fear Key West not ready to accept tourists. Which is not the case. Or, it could be the cost of a Key West vacation. Pricey. I have begun to wonder if Key West is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

A different story as  to snowbirds. Those who have second homes in Key West and return on a regular basis. They are here ten fold.

I pointed out yesterday the massive turnout at the Gardens sunday. Mostly snowbirds. Last night the same at Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. The crowd unusually big.

Tom Luna and Rick Dery their usual selves. Their singing off the walls. Everyone joining in. The fun part.

Ran into Joe Lysle at Aqua. Made a  mistake a few days ago when I reported he was the new concierge at Casa Marina. He is a concierge, though at the Reach. Both Waldorf Astoria Hotels.

Enjoyed dinner at Tavern ‘n Town following Dueling Bartenders.

I frequently complain about bicyclists. A danger to themselves and the autos on the streets. Bicyclists have no consideration for rules of the road. One way streets, stop signs, red lights, etc. They think they own the roads. Tourists primarily.

Every day a danger.

In the dark of last night, I was returning home. Almost two accidents involving my car and a bicycle. Both bicyclists without lights and ran stop signs.

An accident did occur over the weekend. A bicyclist at 2:19 in the morning driving the wrong way on one way Olivia Street. Came into contact with a Key West police SUV at the intersection of Olivia with White Street.

The bicyclists hit his head on the front passenger door of the police vehicle. He was helicoptered to a Miami trauma center. The police officer and the K-9 dog with him sustained no injuries.

Irma’s after effects refuse to go away. Irma hit the lower Keys September 10. Work still to be done.

Debris clean up major! County and back roads the last to get attention. The County announced yesterday that all debris has been finally removed from County roads.

A major undertaking!

Next, the canals and waterways close to shore. Homes, boats, refrigerators, TV sets, etc. plugging the canals and shore lines. Together with trees and shrubbery.

The last chapter of my recent book Irma and Me is titled Post Irma and is dated October 15. I wrote at the time the debris clean up was on going. Noted…..The debris is non-ending.

I did not realize how correct I was! Here it is five months later and the work continues.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section mentioned Key West’s first electric trolley car began operation on Duval Street this date 1899. Carried 500 people the first day.

Brought to mind my youthful days. I clearly recall riding electric trolley cars in my home town Utica. The Bleecker Street line. In the late 1930’s into 1941. I was anywhere from 3-6 years old at the time.

I googled Utica and electric trolley cars. Came up with This Week in Mohawk Valley History. Includes Utica. The author Frank Tomaino, an outstanding newspaper man back when.

His article indicated Utica’s first trolleys were horse drawn. Began operating in 1863. The first electric trolley St. Patrick’s Day 1890. The last Utica electric trolley train 1941. Went to the barn forever.

Tuesday again. Comes frequently every week. Tonight, my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time.

So much happening these days. Most news worthy. I am constantly revising the tuesday night show. As late as dinner time on tuesday. Things worthy of comment occurring hourly it seems.

Tonight will be a fast moving half hour show covering 10 or so topics of interest. My opinions also, of course. Join me. I guarantee you will enjoy.

Portraits of former American Presidents and their spouses hang in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Those of President Obama and Michelle were unveiled yesterday.

Loved Barack’s. Different. The artist Kehinde Wiley. A black man. Established.

News releases today indicated Wiley enjoys challenging the power of white women in his works. Black women decapitating white women.

Did the President know? He must have. He and Michelle selected their artists.

Michelle’s painting I did not like. The concept lovely. Problem is the painting does not look like Michelle.

Michelle’s artist Amy Sherald. A black woman. She had a heart transplant several years ago.

Trump never seems to blame men for sexual wrongdoings. Denial by the man sufficient grounds not to denounce him.

Trump is sick. His thinking probably motivated by the 17 odd women who claimed during the election that they had been sexually harassed by him. He denied the charges. Must be he does not want to blow his cover of denial by not accepting the denials of others.

Enjoy your day!



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!


Live and learn!

Great White Sharks are snowbirds. They summer in Cape Cod and winter in Florida. From Palm Beach to Key West.

At the present time, Miss Costa is enjoying the warm waters off Key West. A female Great White. So named by some follow the fish group. The group tagged Miss Costa in 2014. The group is generally aware of her location.

The group says worry not. Great Whites friendly. The group claims there are no recorded Great White Shark bitings off Key West.

I don’t believe them. But then, what do I know about Great Whites. Except that I have been scared of them since the movie Jaws.

Syracuse/Buffalo last night. Disappointed. Could not get the game here. The news reported following the game that Syracuse won 81-74. Syracuse looked good in the first half. Terrible in the second.

Syracuse plays Texas A & M thursday evening. Texas ranked number 8 nationally. A true test for Syracuse.

Enjoyed doing my podcast show Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou last night. Primarily, Trump. Could not be avoided.

The tax bill soon to be law not fair. A welfare program for the rich.

One example is the child credit. Seventy five dollars to families earning less than $14,000 a year.  Four thousand dollars to families earning more than $400,000 a year.

Fair? I think not. The child credit should not be graduated based on income. Should be the same dollar amount per child regardless of family income.

Jimmy Carter when President said, “The present tax structure is a disgrace to this country, it’s just a welfare program for the rich.”

Nothing changes.

Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Truman.

Truman made 11 trips to Key West covering 175 days. He stayed at what is now the Little White House. At the time, the Naval Base Commander’s living quarters.

On this day in 1949, Truman left Key West at the end of a three week vacation.

Mike Yutzy a friend for years. Lives in Las Vegas. We have not been together in seven years. He is in town. We are having dinner together tonight.

Turns out Irma and Me is the only book written re Hurricane Irma. Maybe that is why Irma and Me is selling so well. The book is realistic, humorous and sometimes sad. The composition of a hurricane.

You will enjoy reading it. Friends and relatives also. Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and KoboBooks.

Enjoy your day!




Time changes everything. Nothing remains the same. Change constant.

So too with Key West and visitors.

I have been doing Key West for 26 years. Except for the first year, for extended periods each year. The last 11, full time.

Until 5 years ago, Key West was predictable as regards the leaving of tourists and snowbirds.

The monday after Easter Sunday, half left. Their sudden absence obvious.

One week later, the rest left.

From that time forward for several months, locals used to say you could throw a bowling ball down Duval and hit no one.

Did you ever wonder why locals get a discount at restaurants? Simple. Locals used to be the sole source of business after Easter and into the Fall.

No more.

Five years or so ago brought a dramatic change. Tourists and snowbirds still come and go. Yet Key West is always crowded. A bit less after Easter, but not that much so.

The reason why our streets are crowded with cars, bicycles and mopeds. And, of course, pedestrians.

The change the result of excellent advertising of Key West by  State and local groups.

Another change is occurring. The flavor of Key West. The funky disappearing. We are becoming as other Florida vacation spots. Men even wearing sport jackets.

My Easter was different. I did the Easter egg hunt and breakfast with Lisa and family. Invited to four dinners/parties in the afternoon. Thought I would hit one or two.

Never made it. Got lazy. Laid around reading, watching TV and snoozing.

Micky Mantle one of baseball’s all time greats. On this day in 1951, Mantle made his major league debut with the New York Yankees.

TV was still in its infancy. Not all baseball games being televised. TV screen 6 inches by 4 inches.

You went to the ball park if you wanted to see the Micky Mantles play. I was privileged to watch Mantle play at Yankee Stadium several times.

Enjoy your day!



Snowbirds are back. You can see them, feel them, hear them. All good things.

Snowbirds are those who own Key West homes who do not spend the full year here. They return to Key West when the cold hits up north. Snowbirds also include those who do not own, but return and rent each year during the winter months.

Snowbirds mostly in their 50s and up.

They blend right in. Hook up with old friends. Locals and other snowbirds.

I sensed the time was here for the snowbird influx earlier this week while at the Chart Room. The bar was packed. All senior citizens. I knew then the snowbirds were back. Observed it at the Cuban Coffee Queen yesterday. I stopped for lunch. Did not stay. A waiting line. The benches and stools taken.

I was at Hogfish last night for dinner. The same thing. Standing room. Waiting for tables. I luckily found a seat immediately at the outside bar. The inside bar consisted of fishermen and their ladies. Otherwise, Hogfish was packed with returning snowbirds.

I have gotten into grouper recently. The grouper last night was outstanding!

Key West and the Battleship Maine are intertwined. The Maine left Key West for Cuba. It was blown up while in Havana Harbor. Triggering the Spanish-American War.

Many were killed when the Maine went down. A significant number were returned to Key West for burial. On this date in 1898, a Battleship Maine Cemetery Plot was dedicated in Key West. Ten thousand watched the procession and dedication.

My yesterday began with the anti-gravity treadmill. If it does not kill me, it has to help big time. Body Owners has become like a morning club for me and others being worked on. The staff part of the club. Makes hard work easier.

Then a haircut with Lori. Always enjoy visiting with Lori. She has been cutting my hair for 15 years.

Stopped at Cuban Coffee Queen for lunch. No room.

Went home for lunch. Anna there. Anna has been cleaning my house and doing my laundry for 10 years. A Polish immigrant who worked hard and is achieving the American dream.

Is it only immigrants who achieve the American dream today? Why not American born? Is it because the American born have lost something along the way? What?

A three hour nap. I was tired for some reason. Laid down and fell asleep immediately.

“The nights still belong to Hitler.” One of the quotes/observations  in this week’s KONK Life column Helen Sperling…..Holocaust Survival.

I saw the printed column yesterday in KONK Life. Somewhere between me and the printer, the column got screwed up. Sperling’s name was misspelled in the title. Quotes near the end of the column took a beating. One completely left out. Others bunched together. My listed order ignored.

Nothing can bed done. The publisher offered to rerun the column next week. I said, no. Next week should be and will be a new story.

I apologize for the errors/sloppiness. Not of my doing, however.

Staying with the Helen Sperling story, it appears in two additional places today. KONK E-Blast carries it. No errors. The column was also linked to my Key West Lou website. No errors.

I will be interviewed on KONK News at 12:45 today. 104.9 radio. The subject matter will be the Helen Sperling column.

There have been many police/black shootings. More blacks killed than police officers. Most officers not indicted. I read somewhere yesterday that cops have become uncharged murderer’s. I will receive a number of contrary comments tomorrow. However, I agree with the uncharged murderer’s label.

June Hudson…..Don’t break a leg! You will never make it back to the Keys!

Enjoy your day!