Stealing from Mac Arthur…..I have returned! Gene Autry…..I’m back in the saddle again!

It is good to be home.

I got in at 4 thursday afternoon after two days of driving. Birmingham to Key West. Eight hours each day.

No question, a few days does make a difference. Specifically with regard to traffic. Little traffic. Very little. Only spots crowded were Orlando and Miami. I used the Florida Turnpike.

No waiting in line for gasoline. Pumps available at all times.

The second day was depressing, however.

I spent all day listening to the radio re the Mexican school collapse and the search for Frida Sophia and perhaps several other children. Drama! Heart wrenching!

Yesterday, we were told by Mexican authorities that there was no Frida or any other children beneath the wreckage. Alive or dead. The situation “not a reality.”

There has to be more to the story. Does not make sense to me.

The search for the children weighed heavy. To it was added another sadness. I saw what Irma did to the Keys.

Beginning with Florida City, a relatively small tree down here and there. Just outside Marathon, you could sense things were going to get bad. They did.

Beginning at the Marathon point and down to Sugarloaf, everything got consistently worse. Debris piled on the side of US 1. Furniture and mattresses. Refrigerators. Boats upside down. Cars on their sides. Roofs off. Buildings down.

Big Pine, an absolute disaster. It was as if King Kong had stomped all over it.

Summerland, Cudjoe and Sugarloaf hit badly, also.

I had been informed I would see many refrigerators. Apparently they fly through the air with the greatest of ease. I even saw one in a tree. A big one. About 15 feet up, laying sideways on a couple of big branches.

The damage itself was too much to take. Coupled with the little girl under the Mexican school, both scearios combined too much to take. Tears were actually slowly rolling down my cheeks at one point.

Key West was a different story. Damage, yes. A roof gone here and there. Most signs blown through. Trees the real problem. Toppled. Size immaterial. Big and little ones.

My new home is in an area covered with large trees. A cathedral type appearance over the streets.

No more. I was shocked! at least half the trees down. The roads one lane. Piled debris on road side heavy.

My new home survived. No damage. Except for a big tree in front and 5 little ones (20 footers) in the back.

I thought I was returning to full services. No Comcast television, computer and landline. All three I discovered have been off since September 7. One day after I left, three days before Irma hit.

Comcast no help. Comcast’s attitude always the same. Don’t care/don’t bother me.

I called to ask when I would get service. The operator did not know. Asked if I was aware there had been a hurricane.

I am getting wi-fi from my cell phone. A special app. Extra cost.

I went out thursday night. Duval Street a ghost town. Places still boarded. No one on the street.

Met up with John, Kevin and Molly at Bourbon Street. Very few bars open. Food, forget it!

On the way home, I stopped at the Marriott Beachside. Asked for a menu. No food! Enjoyed a drink, met some nice folks who live on the golf course, also.

Yesterday a busy one. Up early. Stopped at Verizon and Publix. Only one Publix open. Customers looked sad. Heads down, asses dragging. A remnant of Irma?

Also got a haircut, manicure and pedicure.

I was energized all day. Assume it must have been the time I spent at Jean and Joe’s. Restful.

Dinner last night with Don and David at Pepi’s. One of the few restaurants open. They were only serving off the luncheon menu and did not have all of the items listed. I enjoyed a huge cheeseburger.

The tree in the center of the outside dining room did fall. Big time! Never more to stand. Destroyed part of the roof portion. The roots pulled up half the concrete floor.

One thing bothered me. The FEMA presence in the parking lot on Simonton behind the fire station. Two huge white tents. took up 2/3’s of the parking. Roped off. A couple of hundred people going in and out of the tents signing up for FEMA. Mostly Bahama Village residents. Everyone happy.

What bothered me were the two Homeland Security guards/officers. Uniformed. Never saw one before.

Tall, thin, crew cut hair, blue uniforms and guns on the hips. Reminded me of the neo-Nazis in Greece I have written about many times.

Their appearance bothered me. I asked myself why does this agency need its own military force.

A fire yesterday. 717 Duval. Reported flames engulfed the building. Fire Department got the fire under control. the building housed a tattoo shop.

Food is a problem. There is  scarcity. Monroe County announced free breakfasts and lunches to all school children till October 25.

I compliment Senator Mc Cain on his Obamacare stand.

Two observations.

Google maps. First time I ever used the service. Off my cell phone. Where have I been? Wow!

The Key West Citizen. Could be the beginning of the end. The Citizen is downsizing. Henceforth the Citizen will produce only two editions a week. A weekend edition on saturday. another edition on wednesday. The Citizen will also soon be moving its operation to Miami.

Sad. A Key West tradition.

Syracuse/LSU tonight. LSU favored by 23 points. Would like to watch the game, never the less. Jack Flats still closed. Might watch at Don’s Place.

I will be doing my Key West Lou Live video on Facebook later this afternoon. A quick few minutes. Interesting dialogue.

Enjoy your day!



Good morning!

A lovely Key West day in the making.

Today is Summer Solstice. the longest day of the year. the day the sun is highest in the sky.

Happens twice a year. June 20 and December 22.

Last night began with Dueling Bartenders at Aqua. Tom Luna and Rick Dery. Lovely Heather guest performer. Heather adding a special touch.

The singing outstanding! The bar crowd mostly seniors. A lot of 50’s and 60’s tunes. A 70’s or 80’s thrown in here and there.

Met Sally. a Key Wester for 8 years. In her other life, she was a San Francisco police officer. Retired a detective.

Sally wanted a life in the law. Did a year of law school. Too subdued for her. Left law school and joined the police force.

Moved on to Tavern ‘n Town. You have no idea how thrilled I am that the season is over. I can now get a seat at the bar any time I want.

Enjoyed some good food while reading the newspapers.

George Bueno has been bartending at Tavern ‘n Town for 2 years. He had 10 plus years at two other places before Tavern ‘n Town grabbed him.

George is being recognized this week. He is Bartender of the Week. His picture and column appearing in the weekly Key West Week.

Any reason for a party! That’s Key west!

The Key Lime Festival saturday July 1. An only in Key West type event. At the Key West Lighthouse. A gravity defying key lime pie drop. From the top of the Lighthouse. Also  known as the Key Lime Drop Contest.

Pies provided. Four inches in diameter.

Goal is to drop the pie to a specified target without splattering it. Pie in the best condition wins. A trophy and a crisp $100 bill.

Contestants are permitted to create a device or container to protect the pie during its fall and impact.

Finally! Key West is getting Uber! Beginning July 1. The City Commission and Bubba system prevented Uber from operating two years ago when it wanted to begin. New state law prevents Key West from keeping Uber out as long as it meets state requirements.

The City Commission has a propensity for screwing up. Especially when erecting or remodeling a building. The cost goes up dramatically. The Commission always buys some half assed excuse and pays the additional monies.

This time it is the repair of the Frederick Douglas Gym in Bahama Village. The original estimate was $1.7 million. When the bids came in, the cost went up to $2.1 million. Now has ballooned to just under $2.3 million. And the work nowhere close to being done!

Working for the City many times is like having an open check book.

Another folly. There are three sight seeing franchises in Key West. Trolley, buses, etc. All three recently renewed their contracts with the City.

Traffic is a major problem these days. Actually, the major problem. Each of the agreements contain a clause that permits duck boats. In the event the Navy changes its mind and permits them.

Why do we need duck boats? There is not enough room for anything more on Key West streets. Previous duck boats were 39 feet long and 8 feet wide.

Permission should not have been granted. All parties should have waited till Navy approval or some remedy to make the duck boats acceptable. Then an amendment to the agreements could have been negotiated. With the traffic issue a main item of contention.

Ingenuity, mostly American, exists in our penal institutions. Contraband has been smuggled into federal and state jails in increasing numbers over the past five years. Contraband consisting of mobile phones, drugs and pornography.

Drones the method of delivery. Authorities are not equipped with the necessary technology to prevent the deliveries.

One of the finest persons I have met in Key West is Betsy Dietz. A kind charming woman. A good friend of Lisa’s. We have done Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together for over 10 years at Lisa’s.

Betsy recently passed on. A Celebration of Life will be held tomorrow at 5 at the Ocean Grill in Duval Square.

I am confident the crowd paying her honor will be overwhelming.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Join me at 9. A quick half hour of interesting topics. Many eye opening.

Enjoy your day!


Some locals told me recently that the tourists were on the rude side this year. I mentioned it to you previously a couple of times.

Last night, I experienced it.

I was at Tavern ‘n Town for dinner. Seated at the bar. Did not want to fight the heavy traffic to get downtown. The bar was packed. However, two seats opened up. One on each side of me.

I was in the middle of my meal.

A gruff voice said, “Please move.”  Not nice at all. The “please” too harsh to be considered nice.

It was a couple. The woman doing the talking. Beautiful! Extremely so. Very overdressed for Key West.

The man looked like he just left the pool. Tee shirt, shorts, toes, hair a mess.

Had the lady waited a few seconds,  I would have seen them, I would have moved without being asked.

I moved. My dinner, silver wear, napkin, two drinks, bread, butter, and newspaper.

They sat. Three minutes later they were up and on their way out. The lady looked at me and said, “We are being ignored.” I asked where will you go. Downtown. Have a reservation? No.

My advice was you are better off staying here. Service a bit slow because the bar is crowded. The food excellent. The entertainment outstanding. If you go downtown, you have to fight the traffic. Find a parking place. They had their own car. Then wait 1-1.5 hours to get a table because you have no reservation.

They knew better. Walked away without a word.

Things were moving. A third seat opened. Three bar seats in a row. Unusual!

Three persons took them. One a lady around my age. With some trouble moving. Unsteady on her feet. The couple probably her daughter and daughter’s husband. In their late 50s, early 60s..

The older woman went to get on the stool next to me. She was having trouble. She was short. As she went up to sit, she started to fall. She fell into me and I grabbed he to stop her falling further. The women kept saying to me, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

The daughter had not seen the fall. She heard the I am sorry’s, however. What are you doing to my mother? I was still holding her. It was like I was abusing the woman.

I explained and the mother did. The daughter was still pissed. She moved her mother three seats away. The daughter sat next to me, the terror of Tavern ‘n Town.

I was glad my dinner was almost over.

Key West exceptionally crowded. Must say it again. Many Japanese tourists. Unusual. Driving next to impossible. People crossing streets without looking. Traffic lights mean nothing to pedestrians and bicyclists.

I had been at Body Owners late morning. Headed downtown afterwards. Had a haircut appointment with Lori. A normally 15 minute trip took 35 minutes. Then, 20 minutes to find a parking place.

I was not a happy camper.

Key West City fathers encourage more and more people to visit. However, they fail to consider how to handle the crowds. Especially, the parking aspect.

Lori and I discussed the crowd situation and her business this time of the year. Her tale always the same.

Business slow the week before a holiday. Tourists already had their hair dome before they came to visit. Her business picks up dramatically the week after. The locals have extra money because of the holiday. They come in in droves to get their hair done.

Syracuse lost to Pitt last night 72-61. The game closer than the score indicates. I thought Syracuse looked good. However, still needs that big man. Pitt controlled the boards 2-1. Scored 22 points on rebounds off the offensive board.

My New Year’s Eve predetermined. A daughter of Don and Stephanie marrying tonight. I am invited. I look forward to the wedding celebration.

This week’s KONK Life column Political Sexcapades linked this morning to my Key West Lou website. An interesting article. Involves Trump and the Clintons.

Everything in moderation tonight. For me and for you.

Happy New Year!