JIMMY V

Syracuse plays Connecticut tonight at Madison Square Garden. As part of the Jimmy V Classic. Syracuse a 5 point underdog.

Jimmy V of course the renown Jimmy Valvano. Famed college basketball coach. Led North Carolina State in 1983 to victory in the NCAA Tournament.

Two interesting things about the Championship game.

North Carolina State was losing by several points with a couple of minutes to go. Valvano had his players start fouling. I was watching the game on TV. I thought he was crazy. It worked, however. North Carolina State won by 2 points.

North Carolina State the National Champion. Valvano went crazy. He was running all over the court looking for someone to hug. His team was hugging each other. Valvano had no one. And then he did. Hugged many times that evening.

In his mid 40’s, Valvano died from cancer.

He was loved by all. Loved to this day.

Ten days before his death, a banquet was held commemorating North Carolina’s 1983 NCAA victory. Ten years to the date.

Valvano spoke. Knowing death was near. Fighting death every day. His words remembered to this day. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

A few days later, Valvano spoke at another event. The ESPY Awards. The first such event. The recipient to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. Valvano was the recipient.

Valvano spoke again words remembered to this day. He admonished all to laugh, think and cry every day.

Words recalled from his address included…..”Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

The Jimmy V Classic tonight is part of the ongoing fundraising for cancer research. His fellow coaches lead in the fundraising to this day. Jim Boeheim one of them. $36 million so far.

I met Valvano one time. The year he won the NCAA Championship or a year later. In Rome, Italy.

I was in Rome with my wife and two of our daughters. It was night time. We were walking the Via Veneto. I was tired. The women wanted to continue strolling and taking in the sights.

I said I would be sitting at one of the outside cafes drinking espresso when they were done.

I approached the nearest cafe to rest my body. There was Jimmy Valvano sitting enjoying a coffee. I walked up and introduced myself. Syracuse fan, friend of Jim Boeheim.

He asked me to join him. I asked what he was doing sitting alone. He said he was tired and his wife wanted to continue taking in the sights. He told her she could find him at the table. We both had a good laugh when I told him my story.

We talked about basketball. The Championship was still fresh in his mind. Till his wife returned.

My one Jimmy Valvano meeting in of all places, Rome.

You never know.

Yesterday by day was not the best.

First a visit with my relatively new primary care physician. He ascribes my tiredness to old age. He said your 82 and expect to get out of a chair quickly. You’re not that young anymore.

I don’t buy it. In effect he was telling me I was an old man (which I am) and there is nothing that can be done to energize me. Left me thinking all I had left was to wait and die.

Then to pick up my new glasses. I was excited. New frames and all. I would be able to see much better.

An absolute disaster. A screw up somewhere. Both distances a blur. I have to return to my eye doctor to check the prescription out against the new glasses. Then return to the optician to get new lenses.

I have been wearing glasses since my 30’s. Never happened to me before.

Tom and Frances last night. Chart Room first and then dinner at Hot Tin Roof.

My Buffalo friends. Fran once again brought me three containers of sauce with meatballs and pork. Frozen solid. In her suitcase all the way from Buffalo. Also all kinds of Xmas chocolates.

Everything in the freezer! I am on a diet. The food and sweets will last.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. All type goodies to talk about. Join me at 9 my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

I am impressed. I have had advertisers the past six months. Among others, GEICO Insurance and Old Navy.

Enjoy your day!

CONFIRMATION…..NEW WORLD HAS ARRIVED

I am despondent this morning. Yesterday’s Senate vote the reason. The vote that passed the Senate Republican version of the tax bill.

What was a question in my mind now a reality. Government as we have known it gone. No longer of the people, by the people, for the people. Now government by and for large corporations and wealthy Americans. The people no longer count.

Patricians rule. Like 5 percent of the population. The rest of the people peons.

Money controls Congress. Its members bought. Thirty pieces of silver.

Michael Flynn. A nail in the coffin.

Finally got hot water yesterday afternoon. Without since tuesday. Cold showers and no shaving during that time.

Simple things do mean a lot. A warm shower!

Frankie the Plumber showed up to correct the problem. He and his wife Sandy friends. If I had known he was the fixer, I would have called him and had hot water the first day.

The problem took less than a minute to correct. The reset button was turned off.

Irma and Me selling. I am running into people carrying it and/or telling me they ordered it. Great!

Irma and Me available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

Giorgio’s evening last night! Drinks at the Chart Room. Dinner at the Pier House’s One. I had intended to entertain Giorgio at Hot Tin Roof for dinner. Not able. Hot Tin Roof was having a private party.

Tom and Fran joined us at the Chart Room. One hour of great conversation. Tom and Fran recently joined the Sons and Daughters of Italy. Fran Italian.

Giorgio has decided to leave Key West tomorrow instead of monday. He is moving to the Villages. Already purchased a home there. His Key West home for sale.

I will miss Giorgio. We became good friends in the short year we have known each other.

Kevin and Che at the bar. I have not seen Che in months. He has become a recluse in his old age. He is one year older than me.

I thought it was Irma time again last night. Returned home at 9:30. No TV, wi-fi or land line. Comcast said it would take till noon today to repair. Fortunately, everything was up and running when I rose this morning at 6.

A big day today! I am seeing two friends I have only seen twice in 30 years. Bob and Helen Marks. I was their Best Man. They are in on a Viking cruise for the day. We will be having lunch at Louie’s Backyard.

Syracuse/Kansas tonight. Kansas ranked #2 nationally. An 11 point favorite. Early in the season. Let’s see what happens.

Conflict time tonight. The Christmas Parade. Immediately following the game. Hope to make the parade. Don’t know.

Tiger Woods doing well. In 5th place after two days. Seven strokes off. In the game!

History is a wonderful thing. We learn.

This morning’s Key West Citizen made mention of the cigar business in Key West in 1900. The Key West cigar industry turned out 1.5 million cigars this day alone in 1900.

Enjoy your day!

 

BOB AND HELEN…..WHERE ARE YOU?

An exciting reunion tomorrow!

Some 30 years ago, I was Best Man at the wedding of Bob and Helen Marks. The wedding took place in the evening in a small candle lit Lutheran Church in Portland, Maine.

Helen wanted to be married there. Her parents were wed in the same Church during World War II. Helen wore the same clothing her mother wore. A maroon suit with an accompanying maroon hat.

It was a cold evening. As cold can be in wintertime Maine. It was  during Carter’s administration when there was a fuel crisis. In the hotel and shopping malls, people worked wearing coats, gloves and fur lined boots.

I went to Portland with a hell of a head cold. Returned with pneumonia. Kidding re the pneumonia. Felt lousy, though.

Bob and Helen and I have probably only seen each other twice over the years.

Bob went on to be a major executive with one the America’s largest insurance companies. For many years, he was Vice-President of its west coast division stationed in San Francisco.

Helen worked with the same company. She became a major executive in her own right. Worked out of the midwest somewhere. She was in charge of all asbestos cases in the United States for the company. Major responsibility!

Both retired. Two homes. One in North Carolina and the other Las Vegas.

They travel. Seems like once a month for years.They have been all over the world.

They are on a Viking Caribbean cruise. The ship stops in Key West tomorrow for the day. We will be together. It will be emotional. A bit of a tear jerker.

I am picking them up in front of Sloppy Joe’s at 12:30. Lunch at 1 at Louie’s Backyard.

I received an e-mail from Bob yesterday. They were leaving last night on a red-eye from Vegas at 11:45.

Probably will pick up the Viking today in Fort Lauderdale or Miami.

I am thrilled!

One of Lincoln’s State of the Union addresses was given this date in 1862. The address’ closing sentence…..We shall nobly save, or manly lose, the last, best hope on earth.

I worry Trump may be leading us to a loss of the last best hope on earth.

Place all Trump’s failures aside, except for two. North Korea and the present problem with Great Britain. The man is crazy and is moving the U.S. further backward by day.

HIVE this morning opened with an apt description of the President: “Good morning dear reader! It was another disheartening day for poor woebegone Donald Trump, a bathrobe-wearing bathmophobic and struggling crisis-management consultant, who occasionally dabbles in racial provocation and genocidal brinkmanship.”

An amusing observation. The White House outdoor Christmas tree was lit last night. Referred to as the National Tree Lighting. One of the hottest tickets in town. Twenty thousand tickets distributed via a lottery. All free.

Normally jam packed. Not last night. Videos show rows and rows of empty seats.

Will Trump claim attendance the biggest ever?

In all fairness, Obama had a similarly small crowd in 2015.

The Senate tax bill a joke were its effect not so serious. The Senate is having trouble bringing it to a vote.

The reason simple. The bill being discussed this morning was redone overnight. Senate Republicans want a tax bill passed. Its contents take a second seat. If and when it comes to a vote, the Senators will be voting for a pig in a poke. Buying blind. Few if any will have read the bill. There has been no debate.

This is what our government has come down to. Rush laws through. The glory of a new law important. Its impact not so.

Today is World AIDS Day. Key West was greatly impacted when the AIDS virus struck. The community came together to help their own. Gay and straight alike.

AIDS not the life taking danger it was. Fortunately.

At 4:30 today a candlelight parade will begin at City Hall and march to the AIDS Memorial at the White Street Pier. The Memorial a sight to behold if you have not seen it.

My friend Dee was one who came to the assistance of AIDS victims in Key West. She had graduated from Boston University with a Ph.D in Psychology. She came to Key West considering opening a practice. Instead she ended up working for AIDS Help. Twenty five years.

Dee made significantly less money than she would have in private practice. It was the cause and the need that attracted her. Now retired, Dee feels she had a satisfying career helping those afflicted with AIDS. She is proud of her work with AIDS victims.

Santa Claus tonight from 6-8 at the Historic Seaport. Take the kids!

Giorgio tonight, also. He leaves Key West monday for good. Sad because he is a great guy. Irma got to him. Also his health. He’s afraid the helicopter might not make it to Miami in time. Drinks at the Chart Room and then dinner.

Tom and Fran from Buffalo will be joining us.

Enjoy your day!

 

BERLIN’S WITH FRAN AND TOM

I am not a happy camper at the moment. Hit the wrong key and lost today’s blog prior to publishing.

Here I go again. Breviated, however.

A great evening. Dinner with Buffalo’s Fran and Tom at Berlin’s. Wonderful people! A fun evening!

A hug and kiss from Janyne. Always a pleasure to be on the receiving end.

Sloan there, also. Introduced me to her twin sister. Don’t look that much alike. However, Sloan has a unique voice. Her sister has the same unique voice.

Discovered Sloan’s daughter hosts at A & B. An absolute beauty and charming young lady.

Bria her usual lovely self. Sean and Gage bartending. They remind me of New York City bartenders. The best! Great personalities!

Fran lost 30 pounds. Atkins. I hate her!

Fran continues to care for me. This trip she brought me three frozen containers of sauce, meatballs and pork. Three meals. She forgot the homemade pasta in Buffalo. She carries the frozen sauce in her suitcase.

Also brought me a container of her home made candies. All kinds.

I think she likes me. Feels sorry I lead a bachelor’s existence.

I was their guest last night. Tonight, Donna and Terri are taking me out.

Must have done something right in my life.

Weather sucks. Fourth day in a row. Heavy rains today all day.

The Conch Republic Drag Race on Duval at 2 this afternoon. The guys will have to lift their skirts as they run to keep them dry.

The Great Sea Battle friday night. I can’t wait. Love it!

Even Harry Truman involved in Conch Republic Days. The Little White House is sponsoring a Truman Legacy Symposium this weekend. At the Little White House, with a few of the talks at the San Carlos Institute.

I was with my bocce team mates thursday night. My cheering them on did not help. They lost two games.

Hard to understand. For five consecutive years, the team has done exceptionally well. Fighting for first place some seasons. All of a sudden, nothing works right.

Keys History section of today’s Key West Citizen carries a picture of Robert Wagner and Peter Graves standing on Duval. This day in 1953. They were here with several other actors making the movie 12 Mile reef.

I was a freshman in college at the time.

The picture shows a very young Robert Wagner. Graves went on to have a successful cowboy TV series.

Other notable stars included Terry Moore, Gilbert Roland and J. Carroll Nash. The big stars Moore and Wagner. The others well known character actors.

They all stayed at the Casa Marina.

Amazing how many movies have been filmed in Key West over the years.

Enjoy your day!

A DAY LIKE ALL DAYS

Busy yesterday. Did nothing out of the ordinary, however.

Started with a noon haircut appointment with Lori. Always a pleasure to spend time with Lori. Fifteen plus years now.

The Cuban Coffee Queen is around the corner from Blown Away. The heat/humidity too heavy to eat outside. Decided to pick up some things at Publix and feed myself at home.

Driving the Publix motivation was the fact that I had been dreaming for a couple of days of a home prepared chicken sandwich.

Bought a lemon pepper chicken.

Lunch was the desired chicken sandwich. A large soft roll. A thick slice of white chicken breast. Covered with a slice of tomato. A bit of salt and pepper. Then mayonnaise.

A dream come true!

Screwed around on the computer in the afternoon searching for a KONK column topic to do. Came up with nothing that excited me.

The Chart Room first last night. John told me Tom and Fran had been in earlier looking for me. Telephoned them. They were at Kermit’s enjoying key lime pie. Told me they would shortly join me.

Spent some time with Tom and Fran enjoying a couple of drinks. Then they were off to do sunset. Knew one of the entertainers and wanted to visit with him. The man with the cats jumping through hoops of fire.

I went across the street to the Hot Tin Roof for dinner. Enjoyed lamb chops again.

Joseph still on the mend. There is a new general manager. JP. We were introduced.

The Noble Group is not screwing Joseph. As I understand, there is an office job awaiting him when he returns.

Joseph has graduated from a walker to two canes. Progress slow.

Hello Jim Wenzel! Close friend of Tom Dixon. Both Buffalo bred. Jim now resides in Tampa. Tom told me he turned Jim on to the blog and he now reads it daily.

Welcome and thank you, Jim!

On the way back to my car, I passed the Chart Room. Ollie was at the bar. One of the heroes of the Zika test spraying fight. I stopped in to congratulate him. He believes Key Haven will defeat the test spraying proposal.

This week’s KONK Life column is German Persecution of Jews. It was carried this morning on E-Blast and also linked to my Key West Lou column. www.keywestlou.com.

My conscience Patrick posted a comment yesterday morning. He wanted to know why I had not commented on the $4 million/Iran/hostage situation. Simple. I only had the first blast of news. Accusatory. Did not make sense. Thought I should wait a day to see how the story played out.

Glad I delayed. Nothing wrong occurred.

Better safe than sorry. I concede I occasionally jump the gun. Rarely however. Sorry when I do.

Trump was terrific. Claimed he saw the whole thing on video. There was no video. He still kept saying he saw it on video.

Ronald Reagan was a tough guy.

On this day in 1981, he fired 11,359 air controllers. None to ever be rehired. When they struck and walked out two days earlier, he gave them 48 hours to return to work.

The union thought it was calling Reagan’s bluff. no way. He called theirs.

Reagan’s action was the beginning of the fall of union dominance in the United States.

Enjoy your day!

NOT SURPRISED BY HOSPITAL RATING

Few living in the lower Keys could have been surprised by the rating our local hospital received. This morning’s Key West Citizen reported that a recent federal study listed the Lower Keys Medical Center with the lowest rating possible.

Such reflective of the public battle between a citizens group and the hospital.

Someone should look at the dollar numbers. Follow the money is always good advice. I would be interested in knowing the hospital’s gross and net. I suspect the net has to be significant. Perhaps more than normal when  placed beside comparable hospitals.

I would also check how the hospital/collection agency thing works. Are the hospital bills being bought by the agency? If so, a hospital would be inclined to get rid of the bills quickly.

My morning yesterday began with the anti-gravity treadmill. Went slow this time. Two miles an hour rather than 4. My tiredness a concern. I was still tired, though not as much.

Then to the Cuban Coffee House. Ruby has disappeared from public view. She is cooking in the kitchen. A new young lady at the counter. Halley.

Spoke briefly with Ruby. She enjoys cooking. My sense was she had another job previously where she was a short order cook.

Spent the afternoon researching tonight’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Stimulating topics. Like the Kahn-Trump disgrace, German persecution of homosexuals, Swedish youngsters being paid to play with Muslim immigrant children, it now being legal for cops to have sex with minors in Ohio, Venezuelans butchering zoo animals for food, urine samples  being collected door to door in Miami in battle against Zika, and more.

Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

One of the best podcasts on the internet.

Last night began with Aqua and the Dueling Bartenders. Tom Luna and Rich Dery. Great entertainment!

Met Tom and Fran Dixon by pre-arrangement. Love ’em!

Josey and David at the bar. So was Darryl. Did not know Darryl. However, a nice guy. He bought for the bar! Also met Bill. He wanted to chat with me re last week’s bagel column. The article turned out to be a popular one.

This week’s column is German Persecution of Homosexuals. Not nice. Hits the stands tomorrow.

Tom and Fran left. I was all alone at the bar. Decided to eat. Went over to the outside bar at La Te Da.

When I left Aqua, I noticed Mangoes all ripped up. Piles of dirt. A huge excavator sitting in the middle of the place.

Broke my heart.

I should not have been surprised. Mangoes recently changed hands. The new owner is obviously putting a new face on the place.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

HEART OF KEY WEST

There are many things that come to mind when thinking of Key West. One are chickens. They are part and parcel of Key West life.

The roosters chase the hens. Interestingly, the hens generally run from the roosters. However, the hens at some point do get caught. Otherwise Key West would have chickens no more.

Gestation is a mere 29 days. The chicken population replenishes itself easily. All over town, you can see mother hens walking along followed by a line of baby chicks. Sometimes the line is long. Other times, not too many chicks.

Nature interferes. Nature keeps the chicken population under control, though those who do not like the free roaming chickens may not believe it. Animals and cars are enemies of baby chicks. Vultures and hawks, also.

Years ago, I was sitting outside at the old Paradise Cafe enjoying Cuban toast and coffee. Mother hen and several chicks were walking down the sidewalk in front of me. Suddenly, I heard a loud swosh. I looked up. There was either a vulture or hawk on the way up with two baby chicks in its clutches.

Mother hen and the baby chicks had run each and every way when the swosh was heard. They reassembled. Mother hen in front and the baby chicks in a straight line behind her and continued on their way. The straight line two chicks less.

No one seemed concerned. Neither mother hen nor the remaining baby chicks.

The preceding is merely the prelude to today’s story re baby chicks.

We live a different life in Key West. Our value systems a bit different.

Over the weekend, two baby chicks fell into a water drain in the parking lot at the Southernmost Complex. Police were called. I assume two or more police cars showed up.

The police were able to extricate the two chicks. They were frightened, cold and wet. Loving hands took them to warm.

In those few minutes, the rescue of the baby chicks was the most important thing in Key West. Key West responded accordingly.

The baby chicks in the drain are comparable to the up north situation of the kitten in a tree who cannot get down. Firemen are called in that instance.

Wrote this week’s KONK Life column yesterday afternoon. Sent it off to the paper. The article is titled Gertrude Bell…..Desert Queen. The female Lawrence of Arabia. An interesting story.

Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying revolutionized sex so many years ago. The  “zipless fuck” came into being. Or was identified. Whatever, a great book. Has sold something like 20 million copies world wide.

Jong has written a new book. Fear of Dying. Addresses women in their senior years. Covers everything, including sex.

Jong lives in New York City. She did have a home also in Key West for years. Whether she still does, I could not ascertain. I never met the lady. Much to my sorrow. I did see her at various social gatherings. Never went up and engaged her in conversation, however.

Fear of Dying will be available for purchase beginning tomorrow.

I am meeting Tom and Fran for drinks at Tavern ‘n Town tonight. I look forward to it. Not merely the meeting. I never got out yesterday.

Today will be busy. The anti-gravity treadmill followed by a manicure. Research for tomorrow night’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Then a fun evening with Tom and Fran.

Enjoy your day!