ANDREWS INN…..IRMA AND ME BOOK SIGNING NEXT TUESDAY

Irma and Me my second book. My first book signing. Next tuesday from noon to 3 at Andrews Inn.

I have a degree of fear and trepidation. Will anyone talk with me? Will anyone buy the book?

Three more experienced authors are participating also.

I visited Andrews Inn yesterday. First time. A quaint small complex where you would expect to find nothing.

I gave directions yesterday. I was wrong. Let me give them again.

Andrews Inn is located at Zero Whalton Lane. Finding Whalton Lane a mystery. It is located off Duval. Across the street from Viva Cafe. A half block off Truman going towards the Gulf.

Drive straight in.

Michael and Albena Dana proprietors. Bought the place 8 months ago. Put it in idyllic shape.

I met Albena. A young beautiful women from one of the southern European countries. She is all excited about the book signing. Their first. Told me food and drink would be available.

Albena an interesting name. My grandmother on my father’s side was named Albina. Excited Albena. My grandmother arrived from Italy. Met my grandfather in Stamford, Connecticut. They fell in love, married and moved to Utica.

If time permits, drop by the book signing. Sounds like a party in the making.

Besides the Andrew Inn visit, my yesterday busy. A haircut with Lori, lunch with Catherine at Sandy’s Cafe, and a manicure with Tammy. My afternoon.

Last night, the Chart Room first. Glad I made it. Interesting people and conversation.

I was chatting with John, Steve and Cindy at the bar. Got into my earlier blog concerning Key West homosexuality the winter of 1979-80.

Steve jumped right in. He and Cindy settled in Key West in 1975. Steve knew exactly what I had written about. A bad time for gays, a bad time for Tennessee Williams.

He described it as  a war initiated by a religious faction who wanted gays out of Key West.

I was chatting with David at the round table when Debbie and Eric came by. From Rochester, NY. Ninety miles from my home town Utica.

Debbie is a grammar school cafeteria administrator. Eric runs a liquor store.

Parents of two, grandparents of two.

Debbie and Eric visit Key West once a year. This trip they were staying at the Pier House.

Two guys came in. From Tampa. Visiting for a few days. One originally from Rochester.

It was a Rochester night.

The Rochester visitor a die hard Syracuse fan. We were in all our glory talking about Big Orange basketball and football.

John told me Morgan was stopping by. I wanted to see her again. My stomach said no. I was hungry.

It was off to Tavern ‘n Town for my diet prime rib. I am stuck at 32 pounds. Should have lost a couple more by now. I cannot complain, however.

Trump is destroying our country. Wake up America!

This tariff thing a disaster waiting to happen. Recall Herbert Hoover. The US was sliding into economic problems in 1929. Hoover knew he had to curtail it. He thought a tariff program similar to Trump’s would do the trick.

It did. But not the way he anticipated. The tariffs led the US into the Great Depression.

Trump is the Herbert Hoover of 2018.

Fifty years from now, Trump will be remembered as the person who destroyed the US economy, brought the US to its knees.

Unless he is stopped.

I meet the world in the Chart Room. Over the years, I have met three soybean farmers who own homes also in Key West. The soybean market has been great for them. They are luxuriating in money.

I can’t wait to see them again. All three told me China was their best customer. With the Trump tariff problem, China will no longer be their best customer. Not even their customer for that matter!

Trump cannot see the reality before him. He hit China with $50 billion in tariffs. China came back immediately and hit the US with $50 billion in tariffs.

Trump is not to be screwed with. He just announced he is considering another $100 billion in tariffs re China.

Trump’s head is in his ass. China does not scare. They are a major power. Probably the second in the world. Soon to take the US’s place as number one

Trump also forgets China is the US’ banker. The US borrows money easily as needed from China. The US presently owes China $1.3 trillion. China the US’ second largest creditor.

Suppose China gets pissed off. They could call in US notes, refuse to loan any further monies to the US, etc.

Then what?

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was on Morning Joe earlier today. He took Trump apart.

Recall in January, Fox told Trump: “Your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world.” This was after Trump referred to African countries as “shitholes.”

This morning Fox referred to Trump as a liar, said NAFTA was working for Mexico that was experiencing full employment, was not aware of the horrible rapes by immigrants in Mexico that Trump has been talking about the past few days.

Money. Everything comes down to money. Fox said Mexico buys $40 billion a year of corn from the US. Because of the tariffs levied, Mexico was looking to Argentina and other South American nations with whom to do corn business.

As to drugs, Fox says the cartel problem exists in the US. He admitted drugs move through Mexico to the US. However, it was the American cartels running the show since the drugs were primarily sold in the US. He could not understand why the US never approached eradicating the drug problem by declaring war on the American cartels.

Fox added that Mexico was opposed to the military deployment along the border that Trump was pursuing in recent days. Not needed, he said

His position basically was that Trump is crazy, does not know what he is doing. Mexico will not be stepped on. He mentioned as evidence that the Mexican Senate very recently passed a resolution calling for suspension of Mexican cooperation with the US re immigration and drug trafficking. Retaliatory to Trump’s moves re tariffs.

Enjoy your day!

 

I’VE RETIRED FROM THE FIELD OF HOMOSEXUALITY

I have been coming to Key West for 30 years. Bought my home 20 years ago. In all that time, Key West has been One Happy Family.

Not so 10 years before I first came. The winter of 1979-80 was a time of flux. Straights versus gays. Violence commonplace. The gays generally on the losing end.

A bigoted man of God resided in Key West. A Baptist minister. His goal was to drive the deviates out of town. He bought an ad in the Key West Citizen. His position simple. He recommended 100 men with baseball bats walk down Duval Street and hit the “freaks” in the head.

The good minister claimed that was the way it was done in Key West in the days he loved and remembered.

One of Key West’s leading citizens at the time was Tennessee Williams. Thirty years a resident. Resided in a quaint bungalow on Duncan Street.

Williams had a gardener who cared for his grounds. The man was found in a pool of blood at his home. He had been killed by point blank shots to the head and neck.

The man was a friend. Williams took his death badly.

Six days after the gardener had been killed, William’s home was broken into. Vandalized, some minor thievery.

Williams was further disturbed. First time in 30 years anyone had invaded his home.

One month later, Williams and a house guest friend were coming out of the Monster. A gay disco off Duval. Late at night. Both men feeling no pain.

Williams and his friend were jumped by 4-5 guys. Williams struck and thrown to the ground. His glasses broken. His friend knocked down from a blow to the jaw.

The friend shouted they may have knives! Let’s get out of here! Williams refused. He stood his ground: “I am not in the habit of retreat.”

Some time thereafter, a group appeared in front of Williams home. They threw beer cans at the house. Shouted, “Come out, faggot.” Then threw fire crackers.

Williams and his friend were in the house. The fire crackers sounded like bullets. Williams and his friend thought they were under attack.

A little history.

Beginning in the mid 1960’s, Key West began becoming economically depressed. The Naval Base had significantly down sized, businesses were closing down. Many left.

It was then that the gays began arriving. They sensed Key West was a place for them. A place they could make home. They were like immigrants. Worked hard from day one to make Key West a better place.

With the gays came problems. Not just the disturbed minister. The gay improvements to the community caused real estate prices and taxes to go up. The gays were buying more and more property.

Some of the gays were not typical of non-gay Key West residents. For example, Williams’ gardener who was shot in the head several times was an eccentric. He would walk around Key West shouting, “I am a woman.”

Male prostitutes arrived on the scene. I find this fact amusing. If the new residents were gay, why did they need male prostitutes?

Drugs and crime accelerated. Assaults and battery common place. The gays were under siege.

Key West was Williams’ home. Had been for 30 years. He refused to leave. He also withdrew from sex at the time saying “I’ve retired from the field of homosexuality at present…..because of age, I have no desires.”

Williams understood why the gay community was being warred upon. Bad gays had followed the good gays to Key West. The bad ones were giving the good ones a bad name.

Key West soon became known as the Fire Island of Florida. Williams said the name did not fit. He viewed the bad gays and others as punks and predators.

Williams was possessed with foresight. He believed this anti-gay sentiment would pass. He firmly believed the violence would be gone by the next year. He was correct.

In the meantime, the Baptist minister kept ranting and raving. He threatened to bring Anita Bryant to Key West to assist in his anti-gay crusade.

The minister thought things would go one way or the other. He gave it 5 years. He took the position by the end of that time, there would be a revival of a “normal society” or the homosexuals would have taken over.

The good guys won.

During the winter of fire, Williams became exceptionally careful. He stopped walking or riding a bicycle down Duval late at night. He claimed he was “more frightened” in Key West “than I am in New York.”

Williams refused to leave Key West: “I have been here longer than they have and I’m not leaving.”

I never sensed the war like atmosphere when I arrived in Key West for the first time 10 years later. Gays owned businesses. Gays were in business with straights. No feeling of discrimination existed. Everyone loved everyone else. One Happy Family.

 

JENNY FROM ARKANSAS…..BIG TIME FOLLOWER

I was sitting at the bar last night at the Chart Room when a lovely lady sat next to me. She started chatting immediately…..I was in last night looking for you, met you with my husband in November, etc.

I did not recognize her until she mentioned she was a librarian, her husband a dairy farmer and they lived in Arkansas. The bell rang!

Jenny 45, married to Spence.

Jenny’s mother Rita was with her. Karen’s husband Spence back home in Arkansas working the farm.

Rita told me she and the family have been coming to Key West for Christmas for 15 years. Impressive.

Jenny and I spoke at length. She is a fan. Reads the blog daily, has purchased and read Irma and Me, and listens religiously every tuesday to my podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Loves the podcast!

Jenny is the first person I have met who religiously follows the podcast. I have noticed the blog and podcast are distinct and separate audiences. Different.

Rita’s son, Jenny’s brother, was married saturday in Memphis. Mother Rita was stressed out from the event. Ergo, Jenny took mother to Key West for a few days of rest and relaxation.

I have become interested in farming. Especially farms that are in competition with or have become associated with the big corporations like Monsanto. In addition to dairy farming, Jenny’s husband Spence grows rice.

We had an interesting discussion re the pros and cons of doing business with major corporations.

Seated next to Jenny was Karen. Karen and husband Jim visiting Key West for the second time. From Cleveland. Two grown children. Son an architect, daughter a financial forecaster. Karen refers to her son as a Doctor for Buildings.

Jim an electrical equipment salesman.

Karen charming.

Made sure I got home in time for the Syracuse/Duke game. Close. Syracuse lost 69-65.

Good game. Both teams using zone defenses. Penetration difficult.

Syracuse lost the game near the end of the first half. It was neck and neck up to that time. Then Duke went of a 10 point run and went into half time with a 7 point lead.

I am proud of Syracuse. The regular season was disastrous. Syracuse did not have it. Then improvement began appearing in the ACC post season tournament. Major improvement in the 3 NCAA tournament games.

It is called redemption. A job well done!

The big students’ march today. High school students demanding improvement in gun laws. The big demonstration in Washington. World wide, also.

And in Key West! The Key West portion begins at noon at South Beach. It will go straight down Duval to Mallory Square. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

Irma still with us. There are post Irma effects. This morning’s Key West Citizen pointed out two.

Florida lobsters one.

The lobster season ends April 1. During Irma, 24,000 traps were lost. Translated into a 60 percent smaller harvest. The dollar loss totaling $38.6 million.

The hospitality industry hurting, also. Revenues down 20 percent. Tourists think Irma wiped Key West out and we are still rebuilding.

Key West an island of writers. Yesterday and today. One of the famous ones Tennessee Williams. Lived in Key West more than 30 years.

On this day in 1955, Williams’ play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof opened on Broadway. Two days before his 44th birthday. Twenty eight years before his death in 1985.

Williams lived on Duncan Street. My Lisa and family live 1.5 blocks down the street from the Williams home.

There is an excitement associated with passing the homes of Key West notables. People like Hemingway and Williams. I get a thrill.

An interesting article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal re human sperm.

Demand for human sperm is a fast growing market. U.S. sperm most in demand. In many locales world wide.

Demand for American sperm for example has skyrocketed in Brazil. In 2011, the demand was 16. In 2017, more than 500.

Wealthy Brazilian women creating the demand. Rich singles and lesbian couples. The DNA most in demand light complexioned, blond haired, and blue eyed.

Modern science absolutely amazing!

One of the most popular donors is #9601 at the Seattle Sperm Bank. He has all the characteristics demanded.

Tubes of semen from young men are frozen in liquid nitrogen and flown to Brazilian airports.

This is the day! At 7 this evening as the sun sets, the guns will roar, the band will play. Chris and Don will be saying their I Do’s.

Two special people tying the knot.

I will be there! On time!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Enjoyed my yesterday.

Researched all day. Love digging for information.

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

A big night ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prominent non office holders also absent. None!

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

Even the mighty fall. Inner corrosion eats away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your day!

 

 

POEMS ARE MADE BY FOOLS LIKE ME, BUT ONLY EMALYN MERCER CAN SAVE A TREE

Change a couple of words and Joyce Kilmer’s famous lines from Trees becomes a well deserved tribute to Key West’s Emalyn Mercer. She saved two huge tongue trees.

It was early morning. Emalyn still in her pajamas. She heard the buzzsaws. Buzzsaws cutting down trees on her block. The trees in front of her mother’s home at 701 Catherine Street appeared in line to be cut down.

Emily ran out and tried to climb the tree. Her husband brought a ladder. Up she went. A sign appeared…..Save the Trees.

Emalyn perched on the tree for two hours. The buzzsaws went away. Probably to return.

Emalyn, a hero.

Key West has a Tree Commission that orders trees native to Key West to be cut down and replaced with a tree not native to the area. It appears the goal of the Tree Commission is to have similar trees throughout Key West. The approach not Key West nor consistent with a community that has represented within its borders every type person. Diversity called for. Not what the Tree Commission is doing.

Harry Truman is another Key West hero, though his exploits occurred elsewhere.

Key West loves Harry Truman. Truman loved Key West. He vacationed here a total of 175 days covering 11 separate trips.

Yesterday marked the day in 1948 when Truman won election to the Presidency over Thomas Dewey. An unexpected result.

The media was convinced Dewey would trounce Truman. Truman was not a popular President.

It appeared the nation was against him.

Truman opted to do a whistle stop campaign across the country. He stopped at communities big and small. He spoke to those gathered from the back platform of the last car.

I recall his stop in Utica. I was in the eighth grade. Two of my buddies and I rode our bicycles to the railroad station to hear the President. He had already started his talk.

The place was packed. People all over the tracks, etc. listening. We could neither see nor hear the President from the back of the crowd.

We did the necessary. We rolled our bikes right up in front of the platform from which Truman was speaking. There was about five feet separating the President’s car and crowd.

Truman’s talk was the same at each stop. The country was having problems because of a do nothing Congress. Do nothing Congress his verbiage.

We had the best seats in town! We were excited to be there and proud to have been able to be that close to a President of the United States.

Truman had all kinds of insulting occurrences during the campaign. He was not getting Presidential respect from many. One example his whistle stop train traveling somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The train stopped. The conductor told Truman the train would go no further till his bill with the railroad company was paid. It was grossly in default.

Truman dug into his pockets and went around asking others to do so also. Some wrote big checks. The bill was paid and Truman was able to continue.

An insult! As Rodney Dangerfield was wont to say…..Truman was getting no respect.

The nation went to bed election night believing Dewey had won. It took longer in those days to count ballots.

The Chicago Tribune had a late night edition on the streets. Its headline…..Dewey Defeats Truman.

H. V. Kaltenborn was a famous American radio commentator. He went on the air advising that Dewey had defeated Truman.

Both media types wrong. When the nation woke the next morning, Truman had won by more than 2 million votes.

That same morning at a press conference, Truman was asked what he was going to do next. His response…..I’m going to Key West on vacation!

I frequently complain about the tourist operation of bicycles and scooters on Key West streets. A danger to the operators and to others. Car drivers and pedestrians.

Yesterday, another accident involving a tourist driving his scooter in an improper manner.

A 41 year old Louisiana visitor was operating a scooter at the intersection of White and Union. He was passing cars on the right. Went into the intersection and struck a broadside a car making a left turn. The tourist died.

He would not have had he stayed in line with the vehicles to the front of him. Scooter and bicycle operators are required to follow the same laws. One being no passing on the right.

Enjoy your day!

BARTENDER JOHN…..CITIZEN OF THE DAY

I mention John Holster often. The Chart Room bartender. Top notch bartender. Knows how to handle and entertain customers.

My friend.

John has been honored! By the Key West Citizen. He is Citizen of the Day. His picture and a few lines below appear at the bottom of today’s edition at page 3.

Congratulations, John!

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. It was for me yesterday. Laziness permeated my being till I left the house at 6.

Drove to Hot Dog Church. Not for services. Much too late. To meet Donna and Terri. They were the only patrons left at the Back Door. Laurie bartending and chatting with them.

I like Laurie. A straight forward no bullshit person.

I was about 2 hours late. My laziness the blame.

We had a couple of drinks and Donna, Terri and I headed out to dinner. Hogfish.

Sometimes I enjoy hogfish, sometimes not. Yesterday was a day I did. The hogfish outstanding! My guess is the quality of a hogfish meal depends on who is cooking.

Here it was the middle of the summer and Hogfish was packed. Occasionally, some had a brief wait for a table.

Hemingway Days begin this week. A big time!

Hemingway Days is a clean healthy event. Partying up and down Duval. The crowd a different breed.

I look forward to some of the activities. Especially the Run of the Bulls and the Hemingway Look Alike Contest.

Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea was published in 1952. Inspiration for parts and characters primarily from Cuba, Key West and San Francisco.

The fisherman Santiago  had many thoughts and some conversation with Manolin re his hero Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio suffered trials and tribulations as Santiago had. In the end, he accomplished great things.

For Santiago who had not caught a fish in more than 80 days, it was to catch the big one.

DiMaggio was Santiago’s inspiration.

Some believe that Hemingway drew on DiMaggio’s father for the character Santiago. Very few. If true, it would be because DiMaggio’s father was a Sicilian fisherman before immigrating to the United States and continued for a period of time to be a fisherman in the San Francisco Bay area.

Another writing giant who lived in Key West was Tennessee Williams. On this day in 1975, Anthony Quinn met with Williams in Key West. Quinn a fine actor. His greatness still a few years away.

Williams had written the play The Red Devil Battery Sign. Quinn starred in it. The play did not go over well. Closed on Broadway after one week.

Quinn was visiting Williams to see if the play could be revived. The play subsequently was in Vancouver and London. Though not with Quinn in the starring role and only a bit more success than had been achieved in New York.

Interestingly, Pierce Brosnan, then a young actor, starred in the leading role in the London revival.

Poor Venezuela!

I have been following Venezuela and its President Nicholas Maduro for four years. Ever since Maduro took office and Venezuela ran out of toilet paper within one year. Four years later and Venezuela still does not have an adequate supply of toilet paper. High infation, no jobs and no food, also.

I consistently ask why the Venezuelan people do not revolt. Yesterday, an informal referendum was held. Note the word informal. The vote had no binding effect.

Maduro wanted a new constitution. One which would guarantee his remaining in office. More than 7 million voted against Maduro’s plan. An overwhelming vote.

Will anything come of the result? Time will tell. However, I doubt it. For some reason, the people are reluctant/afraid to put guns, sticks and stones in their hands and attack the palace.

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!

 

 

 

LlCENCE TO KILL / JEFFERSON STARSHIP / CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF

Recollections refreshed.

Key West happenings.

James Bond. A small part of the 1989 movie Licence to Kill was filmed in Key West. The rear area of 707 South Street. A wedding reception. Bond a guest.

The home recently sold for $5 million.

Tennessee Williams again. On this day in 1955, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof opened in New York City. An instantaneous hit. Won Williams his second Pulitzer Prize.

Jefferson Starship. An American rock band. The group has been around since 1974. Not all members the same. As time moved on, older performers dropped out to be replaced by new performers.

Jefferson Starship is performing at the Key West Theater sunday. On the saturday before at 3 pm, a free greet and meet is being held at the Gates Hotel. You must be a ticket holder to attend.

Spent my yesterday researching.

Visited Tammy at 6 for a manicure. Tammy her usual charming self. For a 34 year old, she is wise beyond her years. Has to be her Asian background.

Then to bocce. All of 10 minutes.

It suddenly got dark. A huge black cloud moved over us. Cell phone weather inquiries showed a huge green mass beginning to move over the lower keys.

At the same time, the wind blew up. Not a simple 20 mph. More! Much more! Dirt and sand swirling.

Everyone ran for their cars to get out.

Most of my group headed for Don’s Place. I decided to go straight home. I do not enjoy driving on US 1 when the rain is so heavy it is difficult to see.

Beat the rain home. Beat the rain in its entirety. The wind blew for a while. The rain never came. This morning, I looked outside to see if it had rained during the night. No. Everything dry.

Key West weather strange. Storms hit quickly. People are wise. They get inside quickly. Wind and rain not a pleasant sea shore combination.

Enjoy your day!

 

HIS WORDS AND LETTERS…..SPECIAL

Two years ago, I wrote an article for KONK Life involving Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo. Merlo was the love of Williams’ life. The relationship tender and then tumultuous.

Tennessee Williams’ birthday is being celebrated this month. Many activities. One last night at Studios of Key West. His Words and Letters. Words and letters written to Williams’ closest female friend, Maria Britneva. Substantially involving the Williams/Merlo relationship.

Merlo’s influence on Williams is reflected in the fact that Williams wrote his finest works during their time together. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Rose Tattoo, and Night of the Iguana.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. A production well done.

Williams also wrote The Glass Menagerie. The Glass Menagerie was playing across the street at the Key West Theater while I was enjoying His Words and Letters.

Prior to the Williams’ show, I enjoyed La Concha’s happy hour while browsing the Sunday newspapers.

One of the items mentioned in yesterday’s Key West Lou video on Facebook involved outhouses. Details immaterial here. Final video comment was that Hemingway had the first indoor plumbing in Key West. Put in his home on Whitehead when he purchased it in 1931.

Bad day at Black Rock. Two basketball giants felled at the NCAA Tournament. Louisville and Duke.

So it goes

Congressional hearings begin today re Russia’s interfering in a U.S. Presidential election. Not the first time. Occurred once before. The election of 1796.

John Adams and Alexander Hamilton running for President. Great Britain and France had just concluded a war against each other. Bad feelings rampant in each country.

For some reason, U.S. support was important to each nation. John Adams, with the support of George Washington, backed Great Britain. Hamilton, France. Hamilton’s position was that France’s assistance during the Revolution mandated U.S. support.

France threatened open warfare with the United States if U.S. support was not forthcoming.

Adams was elected President. No war occurred.

I mentioned yesterday that Florida reported the screwworm problem was no more. A tried and true process had defeated the maggot type insects. The release of sterile screwworm flies. One hundred forty million since October.

Jean a female loggerhead turtle found sick in December. Taken to Marathon’s Turtle Hospital. She was impacted.

The hospital named her Jean. Cared for Jean till friday. A recovered Jean was released back into the ocean at Sombrero Beach.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

THE WALL…..BILLIONS OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS

Recall Trump’s words during the campaign…..We are going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.

Government contract notices listed on a federal website ask for proposals for construction of the wall by March 29. The wall to be 30 feet high.

Trump’s budget as sent to Congress requests monies this year. Tax dollar monies to commence construction of the wall. Described as a down payment. $2.6 billion.

Allocated between a pedestrian wall and vehicle barrier. Broken down, $6.5 million a mile for the pedestrian fence and $1.8 million a mile for the vehicle barrier.

Estimated cost for the entire project vary depending who is being asked. Anywhere from $12-21 billion.

I thought Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Trump has changed his tune. We are going to build and pay for it and then pursue Mexico for reimbursement.

Good luck!

The Syracuse basketball season ended yesterday. Syracuse lost to Ole Miss 85-80. I’m glad it’s over. Most of the games were painful to watch.

I watched yesterday’s game. Same story. We did not have it together. Took forever to make the first three pointer. Defense not what it should have been. Etc.

Villanova lost! Wow! Winner of the Final Four last year. Number 1 seed overall this year. Wisconsin beat Villanova 65-62. Such is the beauty of the NCAA Tournament. You never know when a lesser team is going to be up enough to beat a favorite.

Villanova was my choice for #1. Saw the team as the big winner.

Dee took me to dinner last night at Berlin’s. Two pound Maine lobsters. Delicious!!!

Dee just returned from Bali. Interesting stories to tell.

The William Hackley saga continues. His 8 day clock was not working. Would run down before 8 days up and was not keeping accurate time. He brought it to be repaired.

The verbiage immediately brought to mind 5 Day Deodorant Pads. Such was the name of a deodorant that hit the market in the early 1950s. Small circular pads soaked with deodorant.

I was in high school when 5 Day became popular. Used it. Did I use a deodorant before? Don’t recall. I do not think many, if any, used deodorant till the early 1950s.

Did we all have body odor before deodorant became popular? I do not recall.

Another interesting question was whether people did not daily bathe back then. Otherwise, why the 5 Day name? My mother made sure I took a bath every day. We did not have a shower.

The Studios of Key West has an interesting show scheduled for 8 tonight. I hope to make it.

It will be a reading and discussion of Tennessee Williams’ love letters.

Williams was gay. Had several lovers over the years. One was Frank Merlo. I wrote a column for KONK Life two years ago re the relationship. I thought Merlo to be the greatest love of Williams’ life. Williams wrote his best works during the 14 years they lived together in Williams’ Key West home and a New York City apartment.

The greatest love theory was mine. I am curious what I will hear this evening.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that the recent battle with screwworms has been won. The flesh eating maggot problem eradicated.  Florida’s deer population, among others, saved. Especially the little deer living in Big Pine and on Little Deer Key.

Credit be given where credit due, Florida is on top these things.

Two significant Key West events March 25.

The last season tour of the Key West Cemetery. Three separate tours that day. Make a reservation. Always crowded. Attend if you never have. The history of Key West reflected on the stones. Also, some interesting quips by the deceased. My favorite is…..I told you I was sick.

Equality Florida is having its 20th Annual Gala. From 5:30 to 8:00. At the Gardens Hotel. A perfect venue for the event.

Equality Florida is Florida’s largest and most powerful gay rights organization.

Enjoy your Sunday!