KEY WEST CITIZEN FRONT PAGE HIGHLIGHTS POST IRMA PROBLEMS

A community the importance of Key West needs a daily newspaper. I repeat what I said a few days ago. I miss the Citizen! I miss reading it every day!

I am glad the Citizen has changed its mind and will return to daily publication October 7.

This weekend edition’s front page an excellent representation of problems confronting the lower Keys post Irma.

One involves the sad story of the Venture Out RV and Mobile Home Park. Horrific damage. Six hundred fifty nine units. Many ripped in two or with roofs completely blown off. All units suffering some damage. Seventy uninhabitable.

The Park is still without power. Electric wires down all over the place. Many units will have to be moved in order for work to the power structure to be done.

Day laborers unavailable to help.

Another article indicates that tempers are becoming frayed in some instances.

At the Wednesday meeting of the Monroe County Commission, debris was the major issue. Apparently Governor Scott and the FDOT decided to enter into lucrative contracts with major companies to remove debris. Many who have no experience with debris removal.

A local contractor who has a yearly contract with the County for debris removal is upset. The outside concerns are being paid more. Per his contract with the County, he cannot raise his prices.

He cannot compete with the bigger companies coming in. They pay more so additional workers are unavailable to him. He also cannot acquire additional trucks and other equipment because of cost. The bigger guys are buying/renting them up.

The article notes that debris hauling has become a statewide and national crisis.

Displaced boats a problem. Boats that have sunk totally or to some degree.

Satellite imagery indicates 1,300 displaced boats. They need to be removed. A danger to navigation and pollutants from leaking fuel  tanks.

Three hundred sixty-four have been assessed for removal so far. Only 3 removed.

I wish to compliment the Citizen also on its pictures reflecting damage caused by Irma. Right on. Rob O’Neal responsible for most. Excellent, as usual. His photos clearly and accurately show the damage and destruction.

My day yesterday was spent working on Irma and Me and watching the Syracuse/North Carolina State game. Syracuse lost 33-25.

Syracuse a come back team. They will win one of these close ones soon. Stupid errors were responsible for at least one touchdown and one three point kick. Not the first game the mistakes have occurred. Get rid of the slip ups and Syracuse will begin winning.

First the NFL, now the NBA re the National Anthem.

The NBA has a rule that requires players to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. What will the basketball players do? Interesting.

The issue has affected the NFL’s favorability rating. It was 30 percent 9/21. Seventeen percent 9/28.

Trump has crystallized the situation and made it into a problem. It should not have been one. The issue is freedom of speech/freedom of expression. Nothing else.

Many American banks and bankers are guilty of corrupt practices. They are like a teflon pan. Their wrongdoings slide off them.

My position since 2008 has been we should prosecute some bank CEO’s. Such would correct the problem.

Vietnam did.

Nguyen Xuan Son was the head of a major Vietnamese bank. He was charged with major mishandling of funds. Embezzlement, abuse of power, and economic mismanagement.

His bank lost 1.5 trillion Dong. $65 million American money.

Tried and convicted. He has been sentenced to death.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

PUERTO RICO…..WHY?

I do not understand.

Trump and the federal government performed well re Harvey, Irma, and Maria where ever required in the continental United States. Why has the government turned its back on Puerto Rico? Why is it failing Puerto Rico?

Trump motivated? I think so.

Something stinks re Puerto Rico and it is not the rotting seaweed and fish. It is Washington.

While Trump golfs this weekend in New Jersey, Puerto Ricans are suffering. Some dying. Many drink polluted water from creeks. Millions are without electricity. There is limited gas and cash. ATMs and credit card machines are not working. Cash is king. Few have neither cash nor the ability to get cash. Medicines unavailable. Few hospitals open.

Trump will shower, have food to eat, drink clean water, have a flushing toilet, enjoy air conditioning, have available to him whatever pills he takes, etc. No Puerto Rican will.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is mad as hell. Properly so. She claims the federal government is not doing its job. Trump retaliates by tweeting he questions her leadership ability. He claims the Puerto Ricans want everything done for them when it should be a community effort.

He tells us Puerto Rico is broke. Insinuating such might be a reason for failing to properly assist.

His responses do not make sense. Not from the person who is father to all American citizens.

Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello appears to lack back bone. Afraid to speak the truth to higher authority. From the beginning, he has been praising Trump and the help provided.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Television continues to show ruin and devastation. Trump is intimating and will probably say at some point that such is fake news. I expect no less.

Something is wrong. What specially, I cannot put my finger on. Are there those who will enjoy terrific financial gain down the road? Or, is it because Puerto Ricans are persons of color, tan?

I hope Trump as he plays golf this weekend puts three balls in the water and loses three in the woods. He deserves no better.

Sloan and I worked on Irma and Me again yesterday afternoon. The book is taking shape.

My first stop last night was the Chart Room. I was the only customer when I arrived at 5:30. Just John and me. Stayed that way for a while. By the time I left around 8, the place was packed. Surprisingly, most were tourists.

Met am interesting woman. Brenda. Slight, white haired and lovely.

Brenda just short of being a Conch. Her parents moved to Key West when she was 2. At some point, she left. Returned in 2000.

Brenda is a realtor affiliated with Old Town Realty.

Old Town Realty is located on the massive second floor of the enormous concrete building overlooking Dante’s. The same area where Prime One is located.

She waited out Irma in Old Town Realty’s offices with co-workers and friends. Brenda has experienced many Key West hurricanes. Never left. Even for one.

Then to Tavern ‘n Town for the late Happy Hour.

You would never know Irma had been by. The bar and most of the restaurant were packed. All seemed to be tourists.

The Key West cleanup is a massive undertaking. Debris on every street. On every side of every street. It is going to take time.

The smell is only a problem after a rainstorm. The sun comes out. The humidity sky rockets. The odor ugh!

The State screwed up with the cross walks when it redid North Roosevelt Boulevard. They are dangerous. Accident, injuries, and deaths were inevitable.

Sheriff Ramsey has led the fight to have the problem corrected. The State said yes. However, need 2 years to draft and another 2 to get the money.

John C. Potter died sunday morning. Age 81. He was pedaling his bicycle through the cross walk at Key Plaza. A car struck him.

Syracuse/North Carolina State at 12:20 today. I was going to watch at Jack Flats. Changed my mind. Will try to get it here at home. Syracuse a 14 point underdog.

Man of La Mancha. The Impossible Dream. Miguel de Cervantes magnificent book Don Quixote rewritten to become a famous Broadway musical and movie.

Cervantes was Spanish having been born September 29, 1547 in Madrid. His life adventurous on occasion.

At one point, he was captured by Barbary pirates and imprisoned in Algiers for 5 years. Historians believe he formulated the idea for Don Quixote while so imprisoned. Recall the long tall staircase leading to the dungeon.

Don Quixote the story of a mad knight. A penniless man striving to live by the ideals of the past.

I saw Man of La Mancha three times on Broadway. Each show with a different lead. The movie, many times.

Enjoy your day!

GATO HOUSE GHOSTS

Key West is home to many ghosts. Key Westers take the ghostly viewings amusingly but seriously.

One of the ghost stories involves the Gato House aka Casa Gato. Located at 1209 Virginia Street. People residing there.

What follows is my installment 12 derived based on a Key West Rotary history.

The Gato House ghost story begins for our purposes with the Key West Rotary luncheon June 2, 1932. The Rotary and Ladies of St. Paul’s Church were involved with the luncheon. The proceeds were donated to the Mercedes Hospital. The Mercedes hospital today the Gato House located at 1209 Virginia Street.

The Gato House was built by one of Key West’s early leading citizens. Eduardo H. Gato. A Cuban immigrant who made his fortune in the cigar business.

He built his Key West home at an end of the island facing the ocean. He purchased the lot in 1887.  Construction was completed in 1890. He brought carpenters from Cuba to build the house.

In 1911, Gato permitted a philanthropic group of Cuban residents to use the building as a hospital for indigents. Gato and his family no longer resided in the house.

Gato had one request. He wanted the hospital named in honor of his wife Mercedes. So done. The hospital was named Casa de la Pobre Mercedes Hospital. Referred to as Mercedes Hospital.

In 1919, Gato sold the property to the City of Key West. He retained title to the building itself. The property sold to the City later became Bayview Park.

The building was still being operated as the Mercedes Hospital. It was moved to its present location at 1209 Virginia Street. Same name, different address.

The Mercedes Hospital was run most of its years by Maria Valdez de Gustens. Addressed as Mother Gustens. Described by all as an angel and saint.

The Mercedes Hospital continued till some time around the beginning of World War II when it closed.

The former Mercedes Hospital  in due course became an apartment house. Commonly referred to as the Gato House. In the interim between being the Mercedes Hospital and an apartment house, the building was empty, windows broken. The rear of building became a popular place for cockfights to be held.

Since becoming an apartment house, it has acquired an additional description. A ghost house.

Jan Stefano was residing in one of the apartments. Night time. She was in bed sleeping with her boy friend. She felt someone touching her wrist. She woke immediately.

She observed a short stout woman at her bedside. Her hair in a bun. Wearing a gray dress with long sleeves and a high collar. Standing next to the woman was a man. The woman appeared to be in charge. Stefano thought the woman was taking her pulse. When she turned to wake her boyfriend, the ghosts disappeared.

Whether the ghosts have been sighted since, I have not been able to ascertain.

Most Conchs and long time Key Westers believe the event occurred and that Mother Gustens walks the house looking after its occupants.

My yesterday…..

Lazy. Some research and writing. Sloan back from Europe. We worked together in the afternoon.

The evening spent at Berlin’s with Liz. An enjoyable and interesting companion.

Bria her usual beautiful self.

I am still dieting. It will be one week tomorrow morning. No cheating yet. Ordered a 2 pound Maine lobster boiled. No vegetables. Only the lobster.

No drinking, either. It was water for me.

I had checked a calorie counter before going out for dinner. A 2 pound lobster has negligible calories.

One problem. I was hungry after consuming the lobster. Most of the 2 pounds is in the shell.

Berlin’s packed. Really packed. Waiting for tables inside A&B Lobster House. Monied people. Otherwise, they would not be able to afford the boats they race and the crews required to maintain them.

Today is the last day of the Powerboatboat races. If you have not seen, go! An experience!

This morning’s Key West Citizen listed voting figures. One impressed me. Monroe County consists  primarily of the Keys. 79.9 percent of registered voters cast ballots. A big number! Upstate New York my home for 70 years. Never anything near that percentage voted.

Syracuse beat yesterday by North Carolina State. 35-20. Not an excuse. Our star quarterback Eric Dungey could not play because of injuries. I suspect Syracuse would have won if he had.

The balance of the season does not look good. Even if Dungey is able to play. Our last two opponents are Florida State and Pittsburgh.

Next Sunday is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Several Key West transgenders died this past year. Some suicides. The reason the day is one of remembrance.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

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!

CLOSE COUNTY JAIL DOWN

A male inmate at the Monroe County Jail masturbated in front of a Sheriff Department female employee. Scandalous! He has been charged with indecent exposure.

There are those who cry out for the closing of Fantasy Fest. Or at the least, a change in the nature of the event. The reason being nudity, sex, etc.

I have taken the consistent position that those who decry Fantasy Fest are loonies. Do gooders. Religious zealots.

I have seen nudity at Fantasy Fest. I have never seen sex performed or masturbation. Masturbation before a woman would be considered by some to be worse than that which occurs at Fantasy Fest. I do.

No one except yours truly is calling for the County Jail to shut down.

I have written re the County Jail with tongue in cheek. The masturbation serious under the circumstances. What is good for the goose is good for the gander, however.

All comments have been made to show the ridiculousness of those complaining about Fantasy Fest.

Aging does bring on medical problems. I am getting sick of being sick.

I stubbed my little toe on the desk Thursday night. Broke it. No big deal. We have all had broken toes.

I take Effient. A blood thinner. I woke yesterday morning with the foot having the broken toe completely swollen up through the ankle. My foot and ankle twice their normal size.

Knowledgeable that the blood thinner could cause a pooling of blood, I went to Urgent Care. I was correct. The tiny fracture and the stubbing itself had caused more than normal internal bleeding.

Nothing to do. Keep your foot up. Not easy if I am to write. It will take two weeks for the swelling to subside.

This blood pooling thing is a perfect example of big trees from little acorns grow.

It was difficult to research further and write this week’s KONK Life column David Wolkowsky. Made me nervous. The written column has to be in to the publisher by 5 this afternoon.

The anxiety manifested itself at 3 this morning when I woke worrying about the problem. I could not return to sleep. Got up and went to my desk. Completed the research at 6 this morning.

I have become a night worker. What is it called? The graveyard shift?

Sloan will be here at 10:30. To show me how to work the new cell phone. I am not machine literate.

Wanted to watch Syracuse basketball yesterday afternoon. No way. Not carried on any channel here. When a team is not doing well, television ignores the team.

Syracuse beat North Carolina 75-66. Still leaves Syracuse on the bubble for the big tournament.

Yesterday was Senior Day. Two players will not play again for Syracuse after this season. Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinje. Both were taken out of the game just before it ended and received standing ovations.

Cooney will not play pro ball. Too small. He was fortunate however in that he was able to play five years. He walks away from Syracuse with a Master’s degree.

Gbinije has a chance at pro ball. A good one. He needed four years to develop. And develop he did. He scored 34 points yesterday. Made eight 3s.

MASH was a major television show. About a medical unit during the Korean War. It ran 11 seasons. The last show was on this date a long time ago.  A 2 1/2 hour special. Watched by 77 percent of the television audience.

Those of you who recall, remember Hawkeye, Trapper, Hot Lips Houlihan, and Radar? A great show!

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

BLOODY SUNDAY

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma march. The day of the first march (March 7) became known as Bloody Sunday. The march is being reenacted today.

We live in strange times. In a land that has become stranger. The civil rights battle was won 40-50 years ago. It’s back. Out of necessity. Whether by reason of hatred or for political purpose, Republicans are making it more difficult for blacks to vote.

The problem could be born of fear. The black/tan community is growing in numbers. In 20-30 years, more than half the population will be tan. Those of color will control. I suspect what is going on today is a last gasp for air for what has been, a last hurrah.

Syracuse, my Syracuse. The season a disaster. The past few days even more woe.

Syracuse played its last game of the season yesterday. The team was decidedly beaten by North Carolina State 71-57. the game was over the first 10 minutes of the second half. North Carolina State made Syracuse look bad in every respect.

I am not knocking the team. I merely make an observation.

Thursday, the NCAA report came out. I spoke of it in depth yesterday. I especially felt bad for Boeheim who I think was very unfairly treated.

Interestingly, Dick Vitale agreed with me in a statement made yesterday. This from a man who over the years rarely commented favorably re Syracuse or Boeheim. Not this time. He stated loud and clear that Boeheim got a raw deal.

Thank you, Dick Vitale.

When Boeheim was introduced before the game, he was “strongly” booed by the North Carolina State fans. Sportsmanship? These young people have yet to learn not to criticize till they have walked in another person’s shoes.

I watched the game from home. Immediately after, Sloan arrived. We spent a couple of hours working on this and that.

Last night was Tavern ‘n Town. My usual Saturday night haunt. Love Bobby Nesbitt!

Immediately upon arriving, I ran into June Hudson. I have been trying to reach her for two weeks. At least two unanswered e-mails out there. Whatever, we are getting together friday night.

June as vivacious and lovely as always. She has been a widow for two years. I admired and respected her husband Bill. A premier Delaware divorce attorney. He had a terrific sense of humor. The two made a great couple. I was lucky to have met and known them for more than 20 years.

Met two interesting people who were sitting next to me at the bar. Bill and Susan from North Carolina. Snowbirds. Own a home in Key West. Summers are spent on the North Carolina shore. They enjoy the best of both worlds. I hope to run into them again.

Let me take you to Israel, Italy, and Japan for a moment.

Netanyahu was well received last week by the Republicans. I thought his visit highly improper and irregular. He was received by Congress as a conquering hero. The same reception or better than MacArthur received.

He is back in Israel. He faces an election next week. The opposition sponsored an anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv. Thirty thousand showed up. Apparently Netanyahu is not as popular at home as he was before our Republican Congress.

Berlusconi back in the news in Italy. Love the man! He is never down and out.

He was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to several years in jail. Italy by law does not incarcerate people over 70 or 72. Instead, they do house arrest. Berlusconi has done house arrest the past few years. His time has ended. He is as free as a bird.

He still faces resolution of charges involving a 17 year old girl.

A European meeting is scheduled soon in Milan. One of Berlusconi’s several homes is in Milan. Putin is expected at the conference. The two men are close friends and will probably spend some time together in serious conversation and partying. I do not use the term loosely. Six months ago when Putin was in Milan, they got together at Berlusconi’s home at 2:30 in the morning and spent a couple of hours together.

Japan. Perhaps we should all move there.

A 117 year old Japanese woman celebrated her birthday yesterday. She is still going strong. Apparently she has a sense of humor. When asked what she thought of her long life, she responded…..It seemed rather short!

Turns out Japan has 58,820 persons alive who are more than 100 years old. Interestingly, 90 percent are women. The 58,000 plus are more than in any other nation.

The water?

Enjoy your Sunday!

RESEARCH

A considerable amount of my time is spent researching. For everything I do. KONK Life column, blog talk radio show, the daily blog, and for the books in process I am writing. I enjoy/love doing it!

Permit me to briefly share what goes into the weekly KONK Life column as an example.

First, I need a topic. A subject to explore. I search for the generally unknown. Also for one that appeals to me personally. When a topic crystallizes, I search the internet for further information.

The unfortunate thing is that after I give the topic the internet run, it turns out not to be as I thought. So it is back to searching for a topic again.

I am supposed to have the column into KONK Life by wednesday each week for publication the following wednesday. It is thursday this week and I do not have a column yet. It could take me through sunday. The two items I thought had appeal fell apart upon research. I am still looking. I fear not. Something always comes up. Like a bolt out of the blue!

A good chunk of my yesterday was spent researching.

The only break was a walk once again at Home Depot.

Last night was Don’s Place. I stopped in around six. Don, David and John at the bar. I sat with them. The chatting continued for more than two hours. First with all three. Then we lost David. John followed soon thereafter. It was Don and me till Larry showed up. The three of us finished the evening..

A good time out. Pleasant company. Many things discussed. One of course was bocce. We play tonight. Our team has started with a bang. We are 8-1. The team we play tonight is 9-0. The opposition is a good team. Better than us. We have had experience with them. They beat us the last two times we played.

It will be an interesting evening.

Syracuse plays its final game of the season saturday. Against North Carolina State. Both teams are 18-12. Should be a good game.

Have to hustle. A haircut appointment with Lori this morning.

Enjoy your day!