PROHIBITION OVER

The band played, the drums roared…..Recreational marijuana became legal yesterday in California. Prohibition over.

Within five years, most States will permit the use of recreational pot. The reason simple. Tax dollars! Big ones expected.

A few States will resist. Evangelicals, the extreme right their moving force. Those who refuse to learn, to accept. They will view legalized marijuana as morality tossed out the window.

My only stop last night the Chart Room. Quiet at first. Chatted with Shaun. Watched the beginning of the Oklahoma/Georgia game. I left at half time. My recollection Oklahoma winning by 17 points at the time.

While at the Chart Room, met Barbara and Joe. From Westchester, Pennsylvania. Barbara still working. A nurse. Joe, retired. A retired attorney and college educator who taught law classes.

They visit Key West frequently. Their Keys home on Little Torch Key. A mobile home destroyed by Irma.

We talked about the tragedy wrought by Irma. Barbara and Joe’s Little Torch home right in the middle of Irma’s blast.

Got into a discussion re retirement. Two retired attorneys. I ventured I went crazy with nothing to do. My blog born of that boredom. My other writings, TV show, weekly newspaper column, and podcast followed.

Joe agreed re the boredom, the difficulty initially of handling doing nothing.

A voice joined us from the other end of the bar. Tomas Mazeika. An attorney, also! A partner in a major law firm in western United States with offices in most major west coast cities.

Tomas, Joe and I agreed on one thing. Practicing law was/is hard work! The issue arose when I mentioned how content I am writing. Told them I wished I had majored in English and became a writer rather than an attorney. I would not have made as much money, but life would have been a lot easier.

Headed home. I was interested in the Alabama/Clemson game.

Hopped in bed and turned on the game. No Alabama/Clemson. Oklahoma/Georgia still on. Georgia had come back. The game tied. Two overtimes. Georgia finally winning.

An exciting finish.

Began watching Alabama/Clemson. Fell asleep within minutes. Woke at 3:30. Curious as to who had won, I went to my office and turned on the computer. Alabama 24-6.

Georgia/Alabama has the makings of an exciting game!

The jet stream is out of its neighborhood. All the way down to southern U.S. states. Including Florida. The jet stream bringing Canadian cold to us.

Sixty one degrees in Key West at 8 this morning. High today 68. Cold tomorrow. Even colder beginning thursday. Evenings in the mid 50’s and days in the mid 60’s.

The heat on at on at the moment.

Trump acts without thinking. Shoots from the hip. Most times totally unaware of the consequences. Several months ago, Trump decided to get on Venezuela’s back. He heard the people were starving. They had been starving for four years.

He tweeted. Knocked Venezuela’s President Maduro. Threatened a U.S. invasion.

The U.S. invading Venezuela? Pure stupidity!

Maduro reacted. In effect said to Trump, up yours!

The story. The U.S. has been the beneficiary of a deal made many years ago involving oil. Basically means any crude oil transactions and those emanating therefrom, were to be in American dollars. Such kept the U.S. dollar stable.

China has been making noises in recent years that it would like to have countries use the Chinese yuan instead of the American dollar.

Maduro opened the door for China.

Venezuela has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. Venezuela went to the yuan. Russia and China announced they are going to the yuan. More countries will follow.

The U.S. at some point will experience an economic crisis. The stable American dollar will no longer be stable.

The beginning of the scenario occurring because Trump threatened to invade Venezuela.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A quick half hour of interesting discussion. Many items eye opening.

Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. Guaranteed you will enjoy!

If you have not purchased my recent book Irma and Me, please do so. It is the only published work on the hurricane. Humor and tragedy mixed.

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

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

-16 DEGREES

Happy New Year!

To most of the country freezing their butts off, Happy New Year! Hang in there. Warm weather will return. It always does.

I received an early morning Happy New Year from a Utica friend. Minus sixteen degrees! I remember those days. Brutal!

Chilly in Key West last night. I am ashamed to say got down to 65 degrees. I turned the heat on. You would too if you lived here all year long. Your blood thins. You are more susceptible to cold.

Key West very cold around the corner. Temperatures in the 50’s. Tomorrow night, low 62. Then a few days with the high in the mid 60’s and night times in the mid 50’s.

Key West style cold!

I remained in last night. The highlight of my evening the Syracuse/Virginia Tech game. Syracuse won 68-56. Syracuse played terrific!

Virginia Tech came into the game with the top field goal percentage in the nation. 54.5 percent. Fourth re 3 shooting percentage. 43.7. Syracuse kept Virginia Tech well below those numbers.

Syracuse’s defense outstanding! Shooting  much better. The team was making shots. Still need improvement in the shooting area, however.

A tough ACC schedule ahead.

Go ‘Cuse!

I wanted to be awake at midnight to watch the ball fall. Missed it. Woke at 12:15. Watched some blabbing from New York. Found New Orleans at 1 my time for their Happy New Year. Provided me with the thrill of it all.

CNN ran Key West 15 minutes after Sushi came down in the shoe. She was walking around by the time they got to her. Never the less, still good. An attractive Sushi in a bright red dress. She makes all her clothes herself. The crowd huge and noisy.

Key West has more than one person descending something or other at midnight. The pirate wench at the Waterfront always a hit. She (a for real one) comes down from the top of a tall ship’s mast. Other descents include a conch shell, Keys lime wedge, unicorn and a tuna.

Something for everyone!

New Year’s Day was not always celebrated January 1. The early calendar was a mess. Unreliable. Followed the lunar cycle. Changed a bit every year. The bits turned into a large number at some point and adjustments had to be made.

Julius Caesar said enough! In 45 B.C., the Julian calendar took effect. Caesar took a little glory from the event. Quintilis was the original name of July. Caesar changed it to July, naming the month after himself.

In the 1570’s, the calendar was still screwed up. By the year 1,000, the calendar had added 7 days. By the mid 1500’s, 10 days.

Pope Gregory III solved the problem by adding 1 day to the calendar every 4 years. Leap year! Still works today.

The new calendar became known as the Gregorian calendar.

Key West’s Dachshund Walk yesterday a success. More than 200 dachshunds participated.

I receive my daily Key West Citizen via the internet. No January 1 edition this morning. Why? I hope it was not because the Citizen gave its workers a day off because of the holiday. A lot of Key Westers worked yesterday. The Citizen should have also, if such was the reason.

Enjoy your day!

TIMES SQUARE BALL 11,875 POUND WATERFORD CRYSTAL

 

 

Tonight at midnight, a new year. 2018. A long time since the birth of Christ.

Times Square this evening will be the center of the universe. Thousands standing in the freezing cold waiting for the ball to drop. The ball, the one we have been watching for years, is rather large. Weighs 11,875 pounds. Twelve feet in diameter.  A Waterford crystal.

Brave people observing the drop tonight in person. The temperature will be freezing. In the teens with a chill factor of -5.

Booze not recommended. It contributes to the dehydration of the body in extreme temperatures.

Key West has sort of dropping balls. Sushi in a shoe at Bourbon Street, a wench coming down the mast at Schooner Wharf, a ball at Sloppy Joe’s. There are more. Each year another establishment is dropping something at midnight.

The bars and streets will be packed. Duval closed off.

I have only done 2 New Year’s eves in Key West. Other times, private parties or at home alone. As I get older, the evening becomes too much work. The crowds rowdy tourists. Parking impossible.

I learned long ago in Utica that New Years eve is amateur night. Since every evening is New Years Eve in Key West, I can afford to miss one a year.

My lesbian wives planned to have me with them tonight. Dinner at Abandonzza, drag show at Aqua, and then Sushi from the street at midnight.

I opted out.

The game plan for me this evening is the Syracuse/Virginia Tech game at 6. Then a TV movie. Followed by an early night to bed.

Aging enters into it.

Syracuse favored by 3.5 points. Both teams part of the ACC. Tonight begins the ACC season. Virginia Tech is the leading 3 point shooting team in the country. Shooting average 45.3 percent.

Last night the Chart Room. Not that crowded. Shaun bartending.

Chatted with Shaun and a few of the tourists. Then home to an early bed.

A good thing Trump does not live in Egypt.

An Egyptian court yesterday sentenced former President Mohamed Morsi and 19 others to three years in jail. The crime: Insulting the Judiciary.

Greece. Oh, how I love Greece!

A Greek anarchist group Rubicon support Palestinians. They are upset with Trump’s soon to be move of the American embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This past week they rode motorcycles up to the Israeli Embassy and threw bottles of paint against the Embassy building.

Rubicons are not part of the Golden Dawn Party. The Rubicons came into being because they thought the Golden Dawn Party was failing in its responsibilities.

I have written over the years often of the Golden Dawn Party. I once thought that one day they would take over the government via the ballot box. Now, I am not sure.

The Golden Dawn Party are neo-Nazis. Dress like Hitler’s storm troopers. Presently the third largest party in Parliament. Represent 10 percent of the popular vote.

It is thought Trump’s election has re-energized the Party. Golden Dawn leaders say, “Trump’s policies have given us a new wind of support…..We should follow Trump’s beat.”

Crazy people!

What is happening in Iran? Surprising! The demonstrations. Proof that even the mighty can fall.

Could happen, though I doubt it.

Don’t forget the Annual Dachshund Walk at noon beginning at the court house on Whitehead.

Stay sober and safe tonight. Enjoy the evening otherwise!

Happy New Year!

THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE

The man who would not die. His name, Rasputin.

History tells us he was a con man supreme, a self-proclaimed holy person, one who caused a royal dynasty to fall. Romanov Russia.

Rasputin helped bring revolution to Russia. He made possible the birth of Communist Russia.

Born Grigory Efinovich Rasputin. To a peasant family. At some point, he underwent a religious conversion. Proclaimed himself a healer.

Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra’s son Alexi was a hemophiliac. Rasputin seemed to have the ability to stop Alexi’s bleeding. The year 1908. From that time forward, Rasputin was an accepted friend, confidant, and adviser to Nicholas and Alexandra. Especially, Alexandra. History believes she had an ongoing affair with Rasputin.

He became a dark influence on the royal family.

All of Russia disliked Rasputin. Nobles, church orthodoxy, and peasants alike. He was constantly drunk, a womanizer, an evil in the Romanov homes. He was concerned not with the best interests of Russia. His concern at all times was his image. Some what like Trump today.

A group of Russian nobles were eager to end Rasputin’s influence over the royal family. They murdered him the night and early morning of December 29-30, 1916.

Even at the time of his death, Rasputin exhibited messianic powers. He was a man who would not die.

The nobles laced his food and drink with cyanide. No effect. They then shot him at close range. He revived and tried to escape. The nobles shot him again. He continued to live.

The nobles finally tied Rasputin up and tossed him into a freezing river.

That did it!

The nobles killed Rasputin. Rasputin killed Romanov Russia. The peasants in due course revolted. In 1922, Soviet Russia was born.

Rasputin put into motion a series of events which even to today affect the world. U.S./Russian relations an example.

Last night, a lovely evening. A charming companion. Catherine.

We dined at Berlin’s. Guy de Boer sitting next to me at the bar. Berlin’s the busiest I have ever seen. Makes sense. Christmas week the busiest tourist time of the year for Key West.

I enjoyed a prime rib again. Terrific! Just the meat and au jus sauce. Part of the Atkins diet.

I am into my fifth week of the diet. Only cheated Christmas eve and Christmas day. I should have lost 15-20 pounds by now. I lost 10 pounds the first week. Not an ounce more since.

Discouraging.

I am thinner. Into shirts and shorts one size smaller. I need the pounds off, however. The scale speaks the truth!

Worry not, I will continue with the diet.

Big event tomorrow at noon. The Annual Dachshund Walk. Hundreds will congregate at the Courthouse on Whitehead to watch the parade.

Only in Key West!

Trump upsets me this morning. I saw the news that a small group had protested in Iran. Trump announced to the world how terrible the Iranian government was, good luck to the protesters, etc.

Trump does not know when to keep his mouth shut and when to speak.

The world is dividing into two camps. Just as Germany and the Allies did prior to World War II. Iran and Russia are friends. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia friends on the other side. Trump should not encourage further division. He has yet to learn it is better to make friends than enemies.

I wonder how Trump would have felt if after Charlottesville, Iranian and Russian leaders spoke out telling the world the U.S. was bad, good luck to the protesters, etc. Trump would have shouted back that each country should mind its own business.

Trump continues to be a growing menace to the health and security of the U.S.

The weather started turning last night. Today’s high projected at 73. The low tonight 64. Cold for us. Warm to my friends up north suffering in low teen freezing cold and tons of snow.

It will continue cold for a few days. Long pants, sweat shirts, sweaters, etc. for us. For me, the heat on tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

FROM OCCUPIED AMERICA…..FIGHT THE POWER

There is a blog I have followed for several months. Posts several times a week. The Justice Building Blog.

The blog appears to be written by a Miami attorney. Pin points court house gossip and fact. Sometimes hits out at Trump and things happening not consistent with our democratic way of life.

The blog always signs off the same way: From Occupied America…..Fight The Power.

The ending apropos.

A pleasant few minutes with Lori yesterday. Before she began, she took me by the hand and led me outside. To show me her business sign: Blown Away.

Lori has been in her new quarters almost two years. Her husband the busiest sign maker in Key West. He never had time to make a sign for wife Lori and put it up.

He finally did as a Christmas present this year. At a time when he is additionally busy because of Irma.

He did the right thing. He now has a happy wife! She has been bothered by not having a sign up.

Spent my time in the Chart Room last night. John bartending. Business so so. People wandering in and out.

Spoke with a 72 year old man. He had a heart problem similar to mine. Aortic Stenosis. The aortic artery as it passes through the heart narrows. Narrows too much and you’re gone!

He had the surgery 6 months ago. Done through the ribs. Bovine used. A vein or artery from a cow, I assume. Previously, a pig.

He claims he is energized since the surgery.

My problem was discovered seven years ago. Surgery much more complicated at the time. Surgery four or more hours. Lengthy hospitalization. Six month recovery period.

The man was out of the hospital in five days.

Modern medicine advances swiftly.

I was aware the procedure was much simpler at this time. I asked my heart doctor recently why we didn’t do it now. I am getting older. Lets get it done before I get any older and might not be able to handle the surgery.

He was against it. Told me about the movie star Bill Paxton. He had it done when discovered. His philosophy do me when I am young and strong.

He died as a result of the surgery.

My doctor says wait. Tells me I am not ready yet, does not want me to be another Bill Paxton.

I have changed my New Year’s Eve plans. The game plan was to be with Donna and Terri and several others for the evening. Abandozza for dinner at 7. Aqua at 9 for the drag show. The street in front of Bourbon Street at midnight to watch Sushi come down in a shoe.

I thought I could handle it. Upon further consideration, decided the evening too much for me. Spoke with Donna last night. Told her to take me off the list.

The evening not a total failure. Syracuse plays Virginia Tech at 6.

Christmas week is the busiest week of the year in Key West. How busy? I observed last night more bicycles on the streets than cars. And more people crossing the street at intersections without looking.

Every evening a disaster waiting to occur. Rarely does one, however.

Friend Kevin Malloy was in a scooter accident December 13. Just found out. He was helicoptered immediately to Miami. Still in the hospital.

Hurt pretty bad. Broke 8 ribs. Four had to be plated. Badly road burned his face. Required plastic surgery.

He is on the mend. God bless! I look forward to sharing his company again soon.

Think Trump is crazy? The world is crazy!

Yemen has been involved in a three year war. Soldiers needed. Children have been recruited for three years. Two thousand one hundred twenty two so far, not including 2017. Ages generally 12-16. Some as young as 7.

Recruiting/compelling the young to fight who are under the age of 15 is a war crime under International Law.

Who can do anything about it? Can anything be accomplished?

Arab countries in western Asia are exploding. Yemen one example.

Trump is unaware of many things. One, the limits of his Presidential power. He thinks he is omnipotent. A king rather that an elected officer of the people. Acts autocratically all the time.

In an impromptu interview by Michael Schmidt of the New York Times yesterday afternoon, one of the revelations was Trump being of the opinion because he is President he could do anything he wanted with the Justice Department.

The last President who thought that way was Richard Nixon.

Forget not Irma and Me. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

GO ‘CUSE!

Syracuse University continues to be a part of my life. As the saying goes, I bleed orange!

I remained in to watch Syracuse play East Michigan last night. Syracuse has been playing poorly so far this season. In spite of its 10-2 record going into last night’s game.

I did not expect much from my beloved team. Was I surprised!

The first half sucked. The score 24-24 at halftime.

The second half was another story. Syracuse dominated big time. Won 62-47.

The difference…..Syracuse scored in the second half. Put the ball in the basket.

The team is excellent defensively. Their problem has been scoring. Long or short, the team keeps missing. All season. Till the second half last night.

Syracuse’s scoring ability continue must continue. Last night cannot be a flash in the pan. It is the only way Syracuse will survive the ACC season.

Yesterday began with an early morning visit with the optician. More tests. Think we finally have a prescription that will work. My third! Two with an eye doctor and yesterday’s with an optician.

My day today begins with a haircut. Lori and me. It takes Lori less than two minutes to cut my hair. She puts the electric razor on 1 and goes for it! Always embarrassed to charge me. I leave her a $20 bill.

Thursday is Farmers Market day. At Bayview Park. Many tents. Tons of goodies. I will go following my haircut and walk around.

I will buy nothing. Everything I like loaded with carbs. A no no on my diet. Russian bread, honey, vegetables, etc. Yet I will enjoy the walk through experience. And to be frank, the saliva experience.

Tonight, I am out on the town. Probably only the Chart Room. But, out! Other than Roostica for a quick dinner tuesday night, I have not been out evenings in several days.

The weather continues to be perfect. Eighty by day, 70 by night. No humidity. The weather report says cooler weather for the weekend. As low as 65.

Laugh my northern friends! I know you are suffering in cold weather. The announcer during the Syracuse game last night said it was 9 degrees outside the Carrier Dome.

The rich get richer. The poor, poorer.

A recent study revealed the richest persons on earth became $1 trillion richer in 2017. The gain four times more than in 2016. The primary reason being the stock market at an all time high.

Wait till Trump’s new tax law becomes effective. The rich will become significantly richer!

For years, I have been critical of the pharmaceutical houses. The cost of drugs being unreasonably high! To no avail. No administration seems to care. Democrat or Republican.

A new example of the thievery permitted.

Bristol-Myers Squib produced Lomustine for years. A vital cancer drug. Sold the drug for about $50 a capsule.

In 2013, Bristol-Myers sold the drug rights to a Miami start up company NextSource. NextSource has increased the price 9 times since the purchase. Renamed Gleostine by NextSource, the drug now sells for about $768 a pill.

Which leads me to conclude there is no question…..Your life is worth every penny you have!

Easier for college kids to get a higher education today. They can borrow the money via financial aid. Such did not exist when I was going through college in the 1950’s. Needed money, your parents could not afford, you worked and went to school at the same time.

Most recent studies indicate that colleges have raised tuitions over the past 30 plus years because of the availability of students to borrow. Colleges placed themselves in a position to make more money.

I bring this scenario to your attention to make you aware colleges operate like a business. There is a need to gross more dollars. New buildings, higher faculty salaries, etc.

In the end, the students suffer. Burdened for years with debts difficult to pay. Forced to put off major life events such as marriage, home ownership, and children.

Lori awaits.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

THE WEATHER…..KEY WEST AND ERIE, PA.

The weather outside is frightful…..

For Key West, no. Erie, Pa., yes.

A magnificent Christmas week weather wise. Eighty by day, 70 by night. No humidity. No air conditioning required at night. Open the bedroom window and let the cool ocean breeze flow in.

Erie, Pa. another story! Four feet of snow over a 48 hour period 12/25-12/26.

Erie no stranger to heavy snow falls. However, the four feet was the most ever.

I remember 4 feet snowfalls in Utica. Got one every 10 years or so. Pretty. Disruptive, however. The City closed down. No driving, no work. Could be 2 days before you got out of your house.

I loved the major snow storms. Family time. Parents and children confined at home together. A time to rebond.

My day yesterday began at the opticians. Still having vision problems with the new glasses. Second prescription. Worse than the first.

I return this morning for additional tests.

Worked  at organizing last night’s podcast in the afternoon. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

An early dinner at Roostica.

No question it is Christmas time. The busiest time of the year in Key West. Roostica packed to the walls inside and out.

Tried to do a different show last night. One where Donald Trump is never mentioned. I did well. Slipped into a brief Trump comment only 3 times.

The introductory story was one I reported first on this blog last week. The story of the prematurely born female twins.

One not making it. Death inevitable. Placed in incubator next to her sister who was doing well. The healthy twin threw an arm over her sick sister. The sick sister’s recovery began immediately.

The twins 22 years old today. Lovely young ladies leading full lives.

The help of a sister and the grace of God responsible.

A poor stone crab season.  A very poor one.

Law of economics at work. Few stone crabs available, high prices.

The fishermen cannot find enough stone crabs. It is believed Irma disrupted the ocean floor and who knows where they ended up. Another reason suggested is that there has not been a cold front yet. A cold front is required to move stone crabs closer to shore.

Small stone crabs going for $8 a piece. Jumbo’s, $28 a piece.

Too expensive.

Syracuse/E. Michigan tonight. I will watch from the comfort of my bed. Syracuse a 12 point underdog.

I doubt many would disagree with me if I referred to Trump as an egomaniac. He may get his rocks off again. In Jerusalem.

Israel owes Trump. He is moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The action to the Israelis indicates Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

They refer to Trump’s decision re the Embassy as a “brave decision.”

Jerusalem’s Western Wall is the holiest of Jewish places. A high speed railway is soon to be constructed which will run to the Western Wall. Construction to take 4 years. Cost, $700 million.

Strong support exists to name the train station at the Wall after Trump.

He is better deserving in my opinion for a subway train station in the middle of the Bronx to be renamed after him. One in a black/latino neighborhood.

Enjoy your day!

CELIBACY SYNDROME…..A FLIGHT FROM HUMAN INTIMACY

Back to normal. Three hundred sixty five days till Christmas again. A well earned rest.

The Japanese continue to move away from sex. Would you believe! I wrote about the situation several years ago. It remains ongoing and getting worse.

Especially with the young. One study indicates forty five percent have given up on sex. Women 16-24, 25 percent of the men. One third of those under 30 have never dated. Most believe love leads nowhere.

Another study suggests even higher numbers. Forty nine percent of women 18-34 and 61 percent of unmarried men have turned their backs on sex. They are not interested in any kind of romantic relationship.

True celibacy. A flight from intimacy. In addition to not being interested, many despise sex. Hard to believe. Such is the case, however.

No sex creates a problem. A big one. A diminishing population. Births thus far this year are just below 941,000. The lowest number since births began being recorded in 1899.

Several reasons are attributed for the movement away from sex. The economic stagnation of the past 20 years. A continuing nuclear scare. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The radioactive meltdown.

The men claim they cannot afford marriage. Job security no longer exists in Japan. Job uncertainty does. Women do not want them.

Young Japanese women have entered the work place. Most are successful. Much demanded of them. They do not wish to have a job and care for a family. Too much work involved. They prefer dinners at top restaurants with their girl friends and traveling. The ladies can personally satisfy their sexual needs personally.

Women consider marriage a grave.

Talk about cultural change. What is happening in Japan is a big one!

Lisa’s for dinner last night. Tons of left overs from Christmas eve.

Stopped at Don’s Place on the way home. Wanted to wish friends a Merry Christmas. Spent some time with David, Frankie and Sandy. Sissy bartending.

Key West is recovering well from Irma. Twenty miles up the Keys, they are not. From Cudjoe to Marathon, the mess remains. Cleanup and repair moving at snail’s pace.

FEMA did well initially. FEMA has already spent $118 million in Monroe County.

Much that remains is for the State and County to do. Therein I believe lies the problem. Neither the State nor County expected the devastation Irma wrought. The problem exceeded anything they imagined or planned for.

Self-help still available. Homeowners, neighbors and friends continue pitching in and helping. The Federal, State and County must up their efforts. If the recovery is too much for the State and County, it has to be even more/worse for those engaged in self-help.

I worry. About war.

Marine Commandant General Robert Neller speaking to troops in Norway said war could come. In the next year. In Russia and the Pacific Theater.

In December 1888, Van Gogh chopped off the lower part of his left ear with a razor. History tells us he was a bit off mentally.

No wonder. As an artist, he lived off his earnings from the sale of his paintings. In his entire career, he sold only one painting.

Following the ear cutting event, Van Gogh painted a picture of himself with a head bandage covering the ear. It sold years later in the millions. As most of Van Gogh’s paintings have.

Difficult to find anyone who speaks well of Comcast. A difficult vendor to have for TV, wi-fi, and landlines. Service the worst!

Washington State has decided to take Comcast on. The Attorney General has initiated a lawsuit charging Comcast with misselling its Service Protection Plan. The issue who pays for service call bills. Seventy three million dollars involved over a 5 year period.

Go Washington State!

Podcast time tonight! My blog talk radio show. Nine my time.

Between Trump and world events, there is always much to talk about. I never run out of material. This evening no exception. The ills and misdeeds of the world exposed. Here and there, a story that warms rather than chills the heart.

A fast moving half hour. Boring the show is not. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

CHRISTMAS MORNING

Christmas morning. Actually, the last hours of Christmas eve and the beginning of Christmas Day.

Christmas eve does not end with dinner and the dishes being done. The dishes an extortion in themselves.

Everyone gone. The kids sleeping. Time to get out Santa’s gifts and lay them around the tree, fill the stockings, and make sure the cookies and milk left for Santa were devoured. My job!

My wife always went to Midnight Mass. I not. So she got ready and was off. Not to return till about 2.

My job to put together the toys that required such.

I recall a Christmas in the 1960s. Santa had brought my son his first two-wheel bicycle. In a box. I had to put it together. This was before the days that stores provided the service for $5 or $10.

I began before my wife left for Mass. I was still working on it when she returned. We worked together till 3.

A pain! Hundreds of screws and bolts. Instructions required a Ph.D. If a screw or bolt were missing, you were dead!

Finally, the bike was together. Safe for our son to ride.

The wife and I got to sleep around 3:30. At 5:30, our 4 children were in our room asking if it was time? Could they go down to see what Santa had brought?

We were up and downstairs at 5:30. After 2 1/2 hours sleep.

Santa’s gift discoveries always a happy occasion. For the children as well as parents. My wife and I no longer tired.

Now, I am older. Much. My Christmas eve’s and morning’s different.

Dinner at Lisa’s last night. In laws and friends joining in. Lisa cooked the big meal. Not seven fishes. Two. Shrimp and clams. Better than no fish.

I miss the Christmas eve big fish meals of days gone by.

A warm happy family and friends’ gathering.

The night was over by 8:30. I said my good byes. Will return to Lisa’s some time today.

Next stop was Donna and Terri’s. Pajama party! I had never been to a pajama party before.

I do not  have pajamas. I do not wear pajamas. I sleep in the nude. If it is cool, I throw on a tee shirt.

My “pajamas” last night were a pair of short white shorts and an extra long tee shirt. Everyone else in night gear.

One of the ladies Jeanie Maes. A contemporary age wise. She is 5 years younger than me.

Jeanie an artist. Offers her works for sale on Duval in front of the Prudential real estate offices. Her works primarily wildlife. She paints at home 4 days a week. Sells the paintings on Duval  3 days a week.

Began life in Belgium. Then a time in Montreal. Now, a Key Wester.

A lesbian. Wrote a book about being a lesbian married to a doctor in Belgium. Divorced at some point, obviously.

She is working on a second book. On the Other End of My Life.

A personality.

Exhaustion hit me. I said my good byes and left at 10. Spoke with Donna this morning.

She said they went till well after midnight.

Dinner later today with Lisa and family.

I went off my diet. True blue for 30 days. Could not miss the good food, however. Especially Lisa’s home made Christmas cookies. I did a number on them! Topped Lisa’s sweets with Donna’s Spanish cookies. So good. My body had to be going carb crazy!

The trip home from Donna and Terri’s took me down Flagler. Beautiful! Just about every home decorated. Big time! I suspect a few fuses had to be blown along the way.

A surprise for me. Discovered yesterday that Irma and Me had received a degree of formal recognition.

My publisher is Absolutely Amazing eBooks. The publisher, in conjunction with The New Atlantic Library, designated Irma and Me as one of their 2017 Editors’ Picks. A 2017 favorite.

I am pleased. Actually, impressed.

Irma and Me continues to be in demand. Internet purchases back ordered three weeks.

Enjoy your Christmas Day. Go back to worrying about things tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

THE ANGEL ON TOP OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Christmas eve and Christmas day both important. Most Italian-Americans give a bit more attention to Christmas Eve.

Whether the day before Christmas or Christmas day itself, each I would describe as a conspiracy of love. Even relatives who avoid each other all year, bury their animosities. Everyone kumbaya.

The dinner the night of Christmas Eve a big deal. The end of several days of preparation. The day itself further preparation.

Cooking smells permeate the house. A big fish dinner ahead. Seven fishes.

In spite of all the preparation and planning, there are snafus. Last minutes ones. Additional groceries to buy. Last minute gift shopping. Grandma getting her hair done. Wrapping presents (takes forever and many hands), setting the table, finish decorating the tree, some one cannot make it on time, etc.

The conspiracy of love is pure confusion! It reaches its high point and ultimate reward when all sit down to dinner. Anywhere from 10 to 30 guests.

Card tables set up all over the place. Age determines who sits at the dining room table. Some adults are still relegated to the card tables at 25. Since tiny tots. Waiting to move up.

The meal spectacular! Grandmom and Mom did their usual best. Everyone enjoys! Grandmom and Mom taking special pleasure in seeing their family seated all around and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Which brings me to a comparable story. One involving confusion leading to Christmas warmth. And a special reward!

Joan Lunden for more than 20 years was host of Good Morning America. When she left, she turned to writing. Became an acclaimed journalist.

Eighteen years ago, Emotional Health printed one of her short stories. It was about Santa Claus and a bad day he was experiencing Christmas eve day.

Four of Santa’s elves were sick. The trainer elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones.

Santa began to feel pressure.

Mrs. Santa told him her mother was coming. Such increased Santa’s stress more.

Santa went out to harness the reindeer. Not all were in shape to travel the skies that evening. Three were about to give birth.  Two others had jumped the fence. To where, Santa knew not.

Santa began to load the sleigh. One of the floor boards cracked and a toy bag fell to the ground. Toys scattered all over.

Santa had had it for the moment. He needed a drink. Went inside for a cup of apple cider and shot of rum.. He went to the cupboard. Only to discover that the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.

He accidentally dropped the empty cider jug. Broke into hundreds of pieces all over the kitchen floor.

Santa went to get the broom to clean up. Only to discover the mice had eaten all the straw at the end of the broom.

Just then, the door bell rang. The noise further irritated Santa. Obviously not having a good day.

He rushed to the door and yanked it open. There stood an angel. Holding a large Christmas tree.

The angel said cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

The thrust of the story. After all the exasperations experienced, there finally comes a time when joy abounds. The angel at Santa’s door with the tree, the Italian family sitting down to Christmas eve dinner.

Another reason, also. The story explains the tradition why in many homes, a little angels sits at the top of the Christmas tree.

Love Christmas Eve! I look forward tonight to dinner with Lisa and the family.

Enjoy your day!