The father of modern Key West is David Wolkowsky. Ninety eight and still going strong.

David built the Pier House. Its beginnings 1968. Nothing but mud where it presently stands. He started with a 50 unit motel. Called it the Pier House Motel.

David knew everyone. Persons of prominence came to stay at his motel. Two United States Presidents at one time in 1969.

I was at the Chart Room last night. John showed me a photo on his cell phone of the two Presidents and their wives. He had received the photo earlier in the day from Tim. Tim and his wife live with David and assist him with his everyday living.

Seated at a piano playing was Richard Nixon. Standing behind him, Nixon’s wife Pat, Harry Truman and Bess. It appears the picture was taken by David. A note written on the photo said: “To David Wolkowsky. The view at the Pier House-the greatest.” Signed: “Richard Nixon.”

A piece of memorabilia.

My Wampsville friend and former Court Clerk Ted was to join me for dinner last night. He called after I was sitting waiting for him for an hour to report he could not make it. He either was sick or met a lady. I hope the latter.

Met John from northern New Jersey at the bar. Nice guy. We chatted about the glories of the Jersey beaches.

I was hungry. No Ted. Called Catherine. Asked if she wanted to feed me. No problem. I hurried over and partook of all kinds of delicious cheeses. Even got to watch a great movie. The one which received this year’s Academy Award as Best Picture. The Shape Of Water. Miss it not! Absolutely fantastic!

The writer had to be extremely talented. I have never seen a movie with so many surprising scenes. The unexpected every few minutes. Great writing!

Tonight at 9:40, Syracuse/TCU. TCU a 4 point favorite.

My day yesterday began with a noon doctor visit with my primary care physician, Dr. Norris. To review my blood and urine test results.

God bless! Everything good.

More importantly, my weight. When I was in last week for my annual physical, I had lost 24 pounds. One week later, 2 more. Total loss to date 26 pounds. Love it!

I suspect my home scale is broke. It has not moved in 7 weeks. Always shows a 20 pound loss. My heart doctor’s machine showed a 22 pound loss 2 weeks ago.

Time to get a new scale.

Blood pressure 110/80. Wowie!

Health increasingly important as one gets older.

The Cuban Coffee Queen is like 50 feet from Dr. Norris’ office. Stopped for lunch. Enjoyed Cuban cheese toast with tomato and a large hot Cuban coffee. I know, I cheated. Cuban bread made with pork lard. Milk in the Cuban coffee. I felt I was entitled.

Spring breakers all over Key West. Well behaved.

It seems every year, the spring breakers look younger to me. Makes sense. As I am one year older each year, they would of necessity look younger. Kids!

Key West a place where adults can be children again.

The foot race for all ages has been scheduled. The Cow Key Bridge Race. April 15.

The bridge is 300 feet long, the length of the race. It has been dubbed a zero K race. Designed for “athletes” who don’t want to wake up early or break a sweat. Over 1,000 will participate. Most costumed.

How we value things sometimes does not make sense. Seventeen were killed at Douglas High School. The students reacted and are reacting. Washington not.

This past week a dog was made to ride in a United luggage bin. The one above the passenger seat. The dog died. Within 48 hours, legislation was filed in the U.S. Senate to make sure a dog would never again be placed in a bin where he/she could die.

It would appear we value dogs more than children.

Trump and his minions are slowly turning our country to one like Germany was in the 1930’s.

Night time in  Delano, California. ICE looking for a particular Mexican to arrest and deport. Saw a Mexican couple getting into a SUV. The man looked like the one they sought.

As ICE approached, the couple panicked and took off. ICE gave chase. The SUV turned over. The couple died. The couple parents of 6 children.

Turned out the couple were illegals. Further turned out the man was not who ICE was seeking.

I appreciate ICE is doing its job as directed by superiors. Such does not make what they are doing correct.

The ICE of today are the Gestapo of yesterday. Our government is moving in the wrong direction. Many support Trump and believe in him. As did the Germans with Hitler.

The madness has to stop. America wake up! If not, in the end everyone will suffer including Trump’s followers.

Enjoy your day!




Happy Sunday!

Three mighty northeasters have hit the country in the past two weeks. So many so close together highly unusual. Snowfalls extremely heavy. Temperatures below zero. Travel next to impossible.

One of the most famous and treacherous winter storms was the Great Blizzard of 1888. Four hundred died. Snowfall 55 inches. Wind gusts up to 85 miles per hour.

New York City was exceptionally hard hit. Snow drifts reaching to the second floor of some buildings. Walking next to impossible. Many who did attempt to walk from one place to another died on the way.

One of those who collapsed in a snow drift and died was Roscoe Conkling. Fifty eight years old at the time. A recognized public figure.

I write of Conkling because he got his political start in my hometown Utica. Mayor 1858-1859. A Lincoln Republican, he ultimately was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served 14 years.

Twice he was asked to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Grant wanted to nominate him Chief Justice. He refused the nomination. A few years later, he accepted a nomination to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed him. Following confirmation, he changed his mind and refused to be sworn in.

We are in the middle of the flu season. The Keys have not been hit too bad. There are two strains out there. The one running rampant in California the bad one. Hundreds have died.

The worst flu epidemic in history began in 1918. Lasted two years.

The first cases of the 1918 flu epidemic were reported at Fort Riley, Kansas. One hundred one the first day. By the end of the summer, the flu had spread world wide. Twenty to forty million died. Six hundred seventy five thousand in the United States alone.

Researchers at Japan’s Yokohama National University believe they are on the path to a cure for baldness. The source of the cure was discovered in oil used to cook McDonald french fries.

The chemical dimethypolysiloxane. Big word! It has been found to grow hair follicles on mice.

Diana Millikan and I finally got together last night.

Diana is an excellent researcher. We have been collaborating on a book for two years. The History of Prostitution in Key West. Goes back as far as 1650. We are stuck. I say we need more research. Diana says there is no more to be found. She says write. I keep pushing her. Whether the book will evolve, I do not know.

Diana recently finished reading The History of Jews in Key West. The book excited her. She wanted me to see it. Brought it with her last night. I was aware of much contained in the book based on other researches I have completed re Key West. Jews played a significant role in the development of Key West. The book Diana brought to me was the first work I have seen incorporating the history in one 200 plus page volume.

We enjoyed drinks at the Chart Room first. Then to Mary Ellen’s for dinner. Diana had never been.

I forgot this was Spring Break week. The young people were all over Mary Ellen’s. No problem. We chatted with some while enjoying toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

The excitement of youth is overwhelming. To be that young again!

Got home in time to watch most of the Virginia/North Carolina game. The final one of the ACC Tournament. Virginia won 73-61. Though North Carolina is an excellent team, Virginia a couple of steps better this year. Virginia is ranked #1 nationally, has won 31 games and lost only 2.

Judgment time tonight. The NCAA Tournament listings will be announced. I have no anticipation that Syracuse will be one of them. It was not our season.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Racial discrimination an in your face item today. Trump’s attempts to limit/stop Muslim immigration an example.

Today, it is Muslims. At another time, the Chinese. The year 1888. On this date in 1888, the U.S. passed a law forbidding Chinese laborers from entering America. Note the word “laborers.” Merchants, extra smart persons and seafarers not included.

California was the tender spot. Over 100,000 had come in. The Anglo cry was they were taking up the white man’s jobs and causing wages to be low.

By 1888, some Chinese had become successful. They owned and operated laundries and restaurants. Both considered women’s work up to that time.

The U.S. continued to discriminate against and exclude laboring Chinese till 1943. The middle of World War II. The Chinese were our ally and such blatant racism could not be permitted to continue.

Spent a little time yesterday reading about turtles and the Florida Keys. A tale of love.

Sloan came by mid afternoon. I called her. Needed her. I wanted to improve on my new Go Live videos on Facebook. Two problems. Quickly resolved.

Big night! Jenna at Berlin’s. We had not seen each other for several weeks. It was catch up time.

Jenna is absolutely amazing. Her professional life continues to develop. Her income accompanies the success.

She was excited I was doing FB videos. She was watching them. She quickly shared with me two things I could do to make the videos better. Love her!

Compared to Jenna, I am a rank amateur when it comes to social media, FB, video, etc.

She shared with me a recent exciting experience.

Jenna has been running the past year. I should be so thin! She has competed in several 5Ks. Comes in 1st or in the top 5.

She works out with Dante. Another thin creature. His abs pronounced.

Jenna ran a short video on FB of her and Dante standing waiting to run. Eleven thousand views! Wow! Even she was surprised. She could not figure out why the video became instantaneously hot.

Would I love to have 11,000 views!

Bria stopped by. Lovely! Enjoyed her singing afterwards.

Tennessee Williams time.

This afternoon at 2 at the Tennessee Williams Gallery at 513 Truman, a talk about the making of The Rose Tattoo. Starred Anna Mangani and Burt Lancaster. Filmed in Key West in a house 2 doors from Williams’ home. The movie based on a Tennessee Williams story.

One week from today at The Studios of Key West, a presentation involving Williams and Frank Merlo. Williams and Merlo were lovers. They lived together in Key West and elsewhere for years. I believe their love letters the basis of the show.

I wrote about the Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo relationship in an article in KONK Life three years ago. The emphasis was on the influence that Merlo had on Williams life and writing.

The State of Florida took like a 100 years to complete the reconstruction of North Roosevelt Boulevard. The State screwed up re the cross walks. How to long to spell out. If you live in Key West, you know.

Too many accidents at the crosswalks. Serious injuries the result.

The State has been screwing around about correcting the situation. Nothing definite from them.

City officials are trying again. The State has to come in and fix. It is a State highway. Even if the State agrees, I can tell you it will be an additional 2-3 years to get to it because of funding. Not in the budget or proposed budget.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. On this date 1950, the President arrived in Key West for a one month vacation. A working one. At the Little White House.

I am fortunate to live on this island. Warm most of the time. Experienced enough snow while living up north.

New York City got hit by a major snow storm in 1888. Began this date. Forty inches in 36 hours. The City was isolated for days. An example being that messages to Boston had to be routed through England.

Here I go again with robots and autonomous intelligence. It is not sneaking upon us. It has. And no one is talking about where those human employees being replaced by robots, etc. will work.

The issue is not bringing jobs back from Europe, Asia and Mexico. Such an issue 20 years ago. Over the next 3-4 years, it will be the robots taking over.

And no one talks about it. Not even Trump who professes to know everything.

California plans to permit no driver vehicles on its highways by the end of the year. No steering wheel, no pedals, no driver.

A biggie beginning at 5:30 today. The NCAA Selection Show. I do not expect Syracuse to be selected.

Enjoy your Sunday!



Silent coup. The quiet sneaky attempt to overthrow an existing government. Sometime successful, sometime not. Part of a banana republic experience.

Breitbart is an ultra right publication. Believes in white supremacy. Anti-Semitic. Opposed to present day U.S. government.

Trump’s senior strategist and adviser is Stephen Bannon. Word is he runs the White House and exerts the most influence over Trump.

Bannon is a former CEO of Breitbart.

Breitbart ran article last Friday claiming U.S. intelligence agencies were involved in a “silent coup” against Trump. The Wall Street Journal in a Monday article re Trump mentioned the quote.

Silent coup to me infers banana republic involvement. We are not yet a banana republic. Not even close. Never will be. Even though some lie hoping the seed will be planted that we become so.

Silent coup was the topic of my Go Live video on Facebook yesterday. Thought it interesting enough to repeat here.

If you have not yet, check out my Go Live Key West Lou video. Short. The silent coup one took all of 1 minute 8 seconds.

Poor Liz. Yesterday was day 2 of her hip replacement surgery experience.

Spent the day with her. She was much better. Most if not all of the drugs withdrawn. She slept peacefully in the afternoon. Made sense while talking. Had physiotherapy for the first time.

If all continues as it is, she will be discharged tomorrow.

I missed my Sons and Daughters of Italy meeting last night. Opted to remain with Liz. The Sons and Daughters meetings are part parties also. Fun!

Oh, the pain! Syracuse lost yesterday. To Miami. 62-57.

The end of the road to the NCAA Tournament? Perhaps. Probably, yes. Syracuse is 18-14. Eighteen wins difficult to get in. On the other hand, Syracuse is 10-8 in the ACC. ACC tough. Ten wins carry a lot of weight.

Spring breakers have arrived! All over Key West. Publix and Smathers Beach. I assume Duval bars in the evening. I can not be sure. As much as I do of Key West, Duval bars I rarely frequnet.

From what I have seen, the spring breakers are enjoying themselves responsibly.

Never did spring break when I was in college. No money. Worked holidays at a meat packing plant in Utica. Big hourly. Made a good pay check for two week’s work.

Never missed spring break. Hard to miss that which you have never experienced. Retirement is my spring break.

Aqua’s new Side Bar has entertainment! Got to be great. The bar has a modern flavor. Something different for Key West.

The ladies were at it again yesterday. International Women’s Day. In the U.S. celebrated as a Day Without Women. The ladies stayed home from work. Went out and demonstrated. To show the economic clout of women.

Have to hustle. A late morning manicure with Tammy.

Enjoy your day!





St. Patrick’s Day again! Everyone Irish!

This is Spring Break time in Key West. Will add to today’s revelry.

The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade occurred in New York City. Irish soldiers serving in the British Army in 1762 decided to celebrate their homeland.

I marched twice in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parades. I was in Manhattan College’s Air Force ROTC. Still recall the sharp eyes right each time we passed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Another recollection is the partying. Big! The best day of the year!

Visited the dentist yesterday. Check-up time. Even implants get checked.

The dental assistant doing the checking irritated me. She kept treating me like an old man. Late twenties lady. When she mentioned how sad it was that I was unable to get out evenings and party, I said…..Lady, I party more than you and have more fun than you!

Started the evening at Don’s Place. Don, Stan and Clare. Great conversation. The conversations should be recorded and placed on You Tube.

Don and I were to eat together. Don decided he was not eating. I had to eat. Skipped lunch. I was famished.

I went to Outback. Thought I might not be able to get a seat. Outback is crowded during season same as Duval restaurants.

The place was empty. Only about 1/3 full. Four persons at the bar, including me.

One of the best evenings I have enjoyed chatting with those round me.

To my right, a couple. We started with the NCAA tournament. Then the Hungarian revolution, Hungary today, Flora, Albania, and cursive writing.

Never got their names. He was 80, she 43. He the best 80 I have ever seen. Still working. At Publix. A butcher. She originally from Hungary. Has been in Key West three years.

They were celebrating their two year anniversary. I congratulated them. Two years married or partnered? No. Two years living together? No, we live separate. We met two years ago.

Typical Key West. Any reason to celebrate.

We got into handwriting. I mentioned my column re the issue. She knew kids are not being taught to write today. He did not.

A waitress overheard the conversation. She came over and joined in. Knew everything about cursive writing. Was unhappy her children were not being taught handwriting.

The fellow several seats to my left joined in. Then came over. He was really into the failure to teach cursive writing in most schools today.

My KONK Life column was Goodbye Handwriting.. Of all the issues I have written about over the years, this garnered the most comment. In writing and on the street. I was amazed! I feared people might be bored with the subject.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board met with County Commissioners last night. The Board is pushing for a new building. $4.2 million. It would require raising taxes 10, 15 and 14 percent respectively over the next three years. The group insisted taxes had to be raised immediately.

The Mosquito Control group is an entity unto themselves. They do an excellent job. Ergo, no one bothers them. They generally ask and receive. High ranking staff are paid excessive salaries. Extremely so.

I say lets hold up a moment. The group has brass testicles asking for an immediate tax increase to pay for a building not yet even approved by the County Commission. Some Commission members heard the $4.2 million figure for the first time.

My immediate concern with the Mosquito Control Board is its intention to test GMO mosquitoes. The Mosquito Control Board wants to test them for the British Company Oxitec. The test would take place on the island where I live. Key Haven. Key Haven  is small. You could put it in your back pocket.

I am opposed to the testing. I do not believe my neighbors, our island and I should be used as guinea pigs.

After six years, the FDA came out last week with its determination re the use of GMO mosquitoes.. The FDA said the process was effective and safe. I questioned it then and now.

There is a lot of preaching going around that the use of GMO mosquitoes should not be held up in view of the safe and effective declaration by the FDA.

Sometimes people do not know. Many not properly informed.

The FDA regulates the genetic material introduced into the mosquito. The genetic material is safe and effective for mosquitoes. No federal determination has ever been made with regard to its safety as regards humans.

My message simple. Do not be mislead when told the FDA ruled safe and effective.

Fantasy Fest is back in the news. Some City Commissioners want the City to stop making its contribution to Fantasy Fest. The group who run the event are unfunded this year. The several year contract with the City ran out. Fantasy Fest is six months away.

There is no rush in arriving at a determination apparently. The vote to extend the contract one year while matters are further looked into has been adjourned one month.

Typical of governmental mentality in the Keys. Determinations are made too fast or too slow.

Enjoy your day!


It was a bit overcast early yesterday afternoon. I decided to walk Smathers Beach. I forgot it was spring break time.

I must share an impression. I felt old. Even better, antiquated. They are all young! Very Young! I almost felt pedophilic looking at the young ladies.

Twenty five years ago when I first visited Key West, it was spring break time. The young ladies looked young, but still woman like. I was not ashamed to look.

Yesterday was different. They were too young looking. It was because I had become too old. At 79, a 20 year old looked like a high school teenager.

Bocce last night! We won all three games. We were not overjoyed, however. We killed the opposition in the first game. The next two were close and we could have lost either or both.

Why were we unhappy? The team we played had only won one game till last night. They still have won only one game, but made a fight of it against us.

With one exception, none of us was up to our usual ability. We sucked! Clare was the only shining light.

Captain David has been saying for three years that we play to our competitor’s level. A valid observation last night.

I was happily surprised at one point. Robert and Jake showed up. Robert was walking Jake. I was happy to see him. A hug and kiss are always good.

Jake surprised me. I had never seen him before with a number of other dogs around. Everyone brings their dog to bocce. Jake handled it well. Sniffing away, the dogs were friendly with each other.

A loyal blog reader is Marty from the Blue Ridge. He comments frequently. Engages with others in arguing some point raised in the blog.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Great Blizzard of 1888. Marty brought to my attention the Great Northeast Heat Wave of 1896. Extended from Chicago through New York and Boston. Lasted 10 days. The temperature above 90 degrees, day and night. There was no breeze. Some 1,500 died.

Living conditions in New York were deplorable for poor immigrant families. They lived 5-6 to a room, no air circulation and no running water.

The  heat wave was Theodore Roosevelt’s introduction to prominence. He was a little known Police Commissioner. He had ice distributed free from the police stations.

Tonight, dinner with June Hudson. I have been looking forward to it all week. We have known each other for over 20 years. However since her husband Bill died two years ago, we have seen little of each other.

Enjoy your day!