SITTING OUT IRMA

Being bunkered down in Birmingham not bad. Joe is off working somewhere in the west. Jean home with us.

We party starting at 5 each evening. Cocktails and then dinner. Alcohol and wine galore. Exceptional food. Stories flow. Laughter prevails.

Not bad.

Miss Key West, however. I can’t wait to return.

Jean Thornton our hostess. Savior perhaps a better word. I have a new label for the wonderful Jean. Hostess with the mostest. The Perle Mesta of Birmingham and Key West.

Jean, a continued thank you for your generosity.

Liz. My dear friend Liz. A year older than me. We date. She cooks for me. We do Dueling Bartenders together. We communicate.

Irma on its way! Liz chartered a plane and flew out. Did not even think to call Louis.

For shame!

I am kidding. Do feel forgotten, however. Liz is in her St. Petersburg home. Large and strong. Survived Irma. Power out. She has a supply of ice however and is able to keep certain foods cold.

Linda Grist Cunningham is a retired newspaper woman. She and her husband now Key West residents.

Linda was in Virginia with her sickly mother as Irma was arriving. Her husband Ed in Key West. He is riding the storm out with Sheila and David in their Key West penthouse. They survived Irma well.

Linda has prepared an excellent run down on Irma. Irma: “End of day one in Key West. What we know and don’t.” She also has put together an Irma site: Hurricane Irma Key West.

I plagiarize from End of day one. Linda’s accumulated facts better than anything I could put together.

Irma hit Key West as a category 4 8:30 sunday morning. Actual landfall 20 miles up US 1 at Cudjoe Key. One hundred thirty miles per hour.

Key West has water problems. Main line intact. Some branches broken. A boil water warning in effect.

Many trees down. Those still standing bare. Down to the bark. Foliage ripped away.

There are 42 bridges between Key West and the main land. All have to be checked.

US 1 asphalt road surfaces ripped away in certain areas.

Linda’s advisory for those who remained in Key West simple. Conserve water, eat sparingly, and be certain to help each other our.

Thank you, Linda. Keep publishing.

Late tonight is Birmingham’s time for an Irma visit. Two in the morning. Not bad. A tropical storm or depression. Kid stuff after what other areas have suffered. We sill be safe in Jean’s home. I will probably sleep through it.

I have complained re the media’s lack of coverage. Miami north covered. The Keys, especially the southern ones, forgotten. We are people too! We were hit first and hard. Media reps should have been in Key West.

One of the Irma escapees in our group has family in the Virgin Islands. Hit by a 5. She has been glued to the TV looking for Virgin Island reports in addition to Key West. Zip! Nothing!

I am doing my Key West Lou Live video on Facebook daily. Nothing fancy. Sitting in a chair holding my cell phone out in front of me.

Mostly Irma at this time. A few minutes. Take a look. You will enjoy.

Finally and most importantly. Yes, there is something more important than Irma. Though some may disagree.

Today is the 16th anniversary of 9/11. Our homeland attacked. Three thousand lives lost.

We must never forget. We must remain vigilant.

Enjoy your day!

THIS IS AN ADDENDUM. I JUST VIEWED A VIDEO OF BIG PINE, ETC. DAMAGE FROM JOYCE GOUSE IN UTICA. THE DEVASTATION FAR WORSE THAN I THOUGHT. WORSE THAN ANYTHING I HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST.

 

 

 

 

 

RANDOM IRMA HAPPENINGS

I feel like a refugee. I am a refugee. Fleeing Irma.

Some random experiences/happenings the past 24 hours. All Irma related one way or another.

The media has pointedly described Irma: A looming apocalypse…..The surge a minor tsunami…..A lawnmower from the sky.

Spent yesterday afternoon watching Alabama/Fresno State. Alabama killed little Fresno State. My hosts Jean and Joe are Alabama graduates and die hard Alabama fans. I was glad for them.

Followed the game up with a nap. Still tired from the drive.

Rose for cocktail hour. Drinks/drinking excellent! Never had a Beefeaters last night, though a giant bottle was waiting for me when I arrived. Margaritas and wine. The wine exceptional.

Dinner a holiday table. Great food. A neighbor prepared lasagna. Another prepared a Texas streetcake. Chocolate. Absolutely delicious! The wine flowed continuously. Joe started things off with a prayer. Called for under the circumstances.

There are only 9 of us here. Feels like much more. Fortunately, the house is large enough so we neither run into each other and can get a degree of privacy if so desired.

Several slept on sleeping bags and couches last night. Jean had two neighbors who offered private rooms and  beds. We all opted to stay together in one house. Team spirit.

The Sheriff moved the 460 Monroe County Jail inmates from Stock Island to a facility in Palm Beach County. One hundred twenty five correction officers went with them and will remain with them.

I do not understand why the inmates were moved. The jail imposing stone and brick.

The Sheriff also maintains an animal farm. Many animals. Well taken care of. A place to visit. The animals were moved from the farm to the jail.

If the jail is safe enough for treasured animals, it should have been safe enough for the inmates.

As of 9 this morning, US 1 not flooded. Except for one lane in Islamorada.

The TV channels are not reporting Irma properly. A lot of talk and next to no video re Key West. Everything video wise primarily Miami.

It is obvious there are no TV people in Key West.

TV is trying to fool people. They got caught by those of us in this house. They ran a video of a flooded Key Largo street. Water rolling as far as the eye could see. 2-3 feet. Two streets.

The streets were Duval and Front in  Key West.

Gotcha!

Saw a picture on my cell phone of a woman lighting a candle at St. Mary’s of the Sea in Key West. Large votive candles. A statue of the Blessed Mother.

The belief is if candles are lite and prayers said asking for relief from a storm, such conduct will help. I am not being disrespectful, but I have never seen a Key West hurricane avoided by such conduct.

Saw another video of the White Street Pier on Facebook. The Pier totally covered in water. Right up to the rails. Huge waves pouring over the rails. Two Key Westers running around taking the video. Finally, one of them shouted to the other: Lets get out of here…..this place is too dangerous!

The Marriott Beachside opened its doors yesterday or a day before to guests. Minimum rate. The place is packed with those who stayed. Like Mark Watson. The Marriott was built to sustain a category 5.

Mark Watson reported on Facebook yesterday that they had moved him from a first floor room to a third floor one. Sounded ominous.

La Concha is also taking guests. Built somewhere back in the 1920’s. Survived over the years. Thought safe.

I have considered Florida’s Governor Scott a flaming asshole up to this point. His political/social decisions rarely helpful to the populace in general. Favor the affluent.

He has turned me around. His Irma conduct beyond belief. His actions thought out and necessary. Like ok for a line of traffic to travel on highway shoulders. Move the cars faster!

In prior storms, all traffic lanes move in one direction. The game plan to get people out of danger’s way faster. For Irma, one lane kept open going the other way. Fuel trucks. To get needed gasoline to the southern part of the State.

Every conceivable way has been utilized to get people out of harm’s way. Buses provided. Sick and elderly removed from their homes to a safe place. Etc.

Reported that police and fire have left. Felt everything conceivable had been done to get people out. I would agree. I do not believe that some police and fire did not remain. My friends e-mail me that some have remained at the Marriott Beachside.

The Audubon House. On the corner of Whitehead and Greene Streets. Built way back when by a Captain Geiger.

In 1832, the famous bird painter John James Audubon spent 20 days residing at the house. He discovered 18 new breed of birds and painted them.

Our little group has some persons purportedly knowledgeable about Audubon in Key West.

The story told is that Audubon would discover the new breed in the morning. Kill it. Stretch it on something so he could paint it. Painted in the afternoon. Cooked and ate the bird for dinner at night.

It was the eating of the bird in the evening that I found extraordinary.

Those of us here are bonding. I am waiting for someone to suggest we have an Irma reunion once a year.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TED WILLIAMS / CROSSING US 1

Baseball great Ted Williams was a fisherman. Loved it! Spent many years in waters off Islamorada fishing. While still a major leaguer and then in retirement.

One of Williams’ favorite haunts was the Lorelei. An on the water eatery and bar on the Gulf side. My favorite lunch and watering hole when in Islamorada.

The Chart Room at the Pier House is of historical significance. Many stories have emanated therefrom. One being that Jimmy Buffett got his first paying job playing and singing there. Buffett has always credited David Wolkowsky for having given him his first paying job playing and singing in the Chart Room.

The Lorelei has its stories also. One involves Ted Williams. It is said Ted Williams sold his home and moved out of the Keys when he had to start waiting for a break in traffic to cross US 1.

Accepted as true.

Getting back to David Wolkowsky, on this day in 1967 David began construction of the Pier House Motel. Fifty units. The predecessor of today’s Pier House Resort. David built the Reach and many other properties in Key West. He is now 97 and still active.

Key West and Jimmy Buffett might not have been were it not for David Wolkowsky.

Yesterday was sunday. I spent it as the Lord’s Day. Did nothing. Never left home. Laid around reading and napping.

Till 6:30. Syracuse/Georgia Tech time. Georgia Tech’s time definitely. Beat Syracuse 71-65. Syracuse played a poor second half and deserved to lose.

Oh Syracuse, my Syracuse! Please win the next and last three league scheduled games!

Early American colonists may very well have invented scalping. Not Indians.

On this day in 1725, a group of American colonists engaged in scalping. A posse of New Hampshire volunteers came across a band of encamped Indians. The colonists took 10 scalps.

Ten being the most significant number taken to that date by colonists.

Boston colonial authorities were no longer good neighbors with the Indians. They were paying a bounty of 100 pounds per scalp.

Not the first time the colonists had abused their Indian neighbors.

In the 1600s, a group of colonists attacked and defeated a large band of Indians. Beheaded many of them. Then played a form of ice hockey down the streets using the Indian heads as pucks.

The colonists involved were mostly immigrated from Europe. Where did they learn scalping and beheading? Europe or the colonies?

Go Live LIVE! The several short videos I am doing on Facebook each day has already developed a significant following. Many comments. Interestingly, those providing comments are a different group from those sharing their views here.

Try to see and hear Go Live with Key West Lou. SHARE it with your friends. Help me to develop a following.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

THE SQUEAKY WHEEL

It is time again! For the handful of righteous to complain about Fantasy Fest. Specifically, the nudity. More hearings. Press attention.

The group is a squeaky wheel. Receives more attention than deserved.

Fantasy Fest is an adult party. If the nudity offends, stay away!

Dinner at La Trattoria by the Ocean last night. Food good. Food always good over the years.

I tried Open Table to make a reservation. For 7 o’clock. Received a confirmation. Arrived at 7. The hostess told me my table was still occupied. I asked how long a wait. She did not know.

She had already noted I had an Open Table reservation. I reminded her of that fact. Give me any table. She said the next one. I told her I would be at the bar.

Forty five minutes and two drinks later, I returned to her. Asked pleasantly when I should start complaining? About what, she asked. I told her and reminded her of our earlier conversation. She remembered neither me nor the reservation.

She told me my Open Table reservation showed a no show/cancellation.

Politely, I said just give me a table. She looked up and said, Oh, I see one over there.

Ordered. A century later, still no food. A long wait. No drinks, either.

I do not know whose fault it was. I suspect the hostess. I was there on time. She probably failed to click some part of the Open Table program..

Anti-gravity treadmill in the morning. Research in the afternoon. Next week’s KONK Life column will tell the story of a female pirate.

US 1 and Northern Boulevard are both dangerous travel lanes. An accident slows down traffic and sometimes causes delays of 3-4 hours.

A three car crash occurred on US 1 yesterday. On Niles Channel Bridge. Minimum injuries, fortunately. Police directed traffic over one lane for two hours. During that time, traffic was backed up 8-10 miles in both directions.

An interesting fact. Locals do not seem disturbed when delays occur. An accepted part of the Key West life style.

Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. Visited our island 11 separate times for a total of 175 days.

In 1953 after leaving office, Truman decided to tale a family vacation to Honolulu. Wife Bess and daughter Margaret joined him. A Kansas City newspaper made it sound like a desertion of Key West.

Nothing farther from the truth. Truman returned several times to Key West after he left the Presidency. Stayed at a private residence those times.

Commercial air travel was not yet in vogue. It was a train from Kansas City to San Francisco. Then a boat to Honolulu. The Union Pacific Railroad and the liner President Cleveland.

Truman had been to Honolulu one time before. On his trip to Wake Island to chastise General Douglas MacArthur. When he landed in Honolulu, he refused a flower lei. Said it was not appropriate for a President to wear. On the later trip no longer being President, he accepted the lei.

The Catholic Church has screwed things up more than once over the years. Religion in general has.

On this day in 1633, Galileo made his first appearance before the Roman Inquisition. He was charged with heresy for advocating the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. The Catholic Church disagreed. The Church claimed the earth and not the sun was the center of the universe.

My problem is not with the Church’s ignorance. It is why the Church was even involved in an astronomical/scientific issue. One that had nothing to do with saving souls.

Greece, my Greece. Poverty and hard times still abound.

The Eurounion imposed a new and more severe austerity program on Greece last year. Since that time, farmers have had their social security payments tripled and their taxes doubled.

Last month, the farmers protested. In Athens. Eight hundred strong. Drove their tractors into town and blocked a main thoroughfare. A demonstration followed. Soon a battle between farmers and police. The farmers defended themselves against the police with tomatoes and shepherd’s crocks.

Question: Why was this scenario not reported to us by the media? I have no recollection of reporting or discussion.

If I am correct, it is further proof that the news we receive is selective in nature. I blame the corporations owning the various news media. They call the shots.

Enjoy your day!

BREAKWELL AND ROUSH THE BEST!

The Waterfront Playhouse’s fund raiser at the San Carlos last night a hit! It could not miss! Laurie Breakwell and Vicki Roush entertained. Their singing representative of the best Key West has to offer.

I stopped at La Concha for their happy hour before the show. Sliders and flat bread. A half block from the San Carlos.

A private party afterwards at Mangoes. Opted not to attend. I was not in the mood for a crowd. Stopped back at La Concha for a night cap and then home.

The weather sucks! No other way to describe it. Cold and rainy. Rain and strong winds comparable to a monsoon. Long pants, slicker and an umbrella time.

Sixties during the night. Tonight in the high 50s. At the moment, the winds are driving right into and through my bedroom wall. Cold projected through friday.

Key West enjoys a variety of crimes. Those with an odd twist are reported daily in the Key West Citizen. Page 2, under the title Crime Report. This morning’s a bit different.

Told of a woman who lost her driver’s license. She was walking from her home on Eisenhower to see the sunset. She put her driver’s license and a credit card in her bra. The credit car made the trip. The driver’s license did not. She called the police to report it missing.

Such was the “crime” of the day.

Florida’s state capital is Tallahassee. Tallahassee is located at the northern end of Florida. Key West, the south. Many miles apart.

I sometimes wonder if State officials ever make their way to Key West. I think Key West is considered by them as a Siberian outpost.

US 1 is the State’s responsibility. A State road.

The State took three years to redo Northern Boulevard in Key West. Northern Boulevard is US 1. The State screwed up as to crossing points for pedestrians. No lights, except for one yellow blinking one. Problem is it blinks all the time. Even when no one crossing..

Accidents guaranteed. A pedestrian death to occur.

Key West wants a button and a red light. The State says nothing needed. They did a good job in the first instance. However to satisfy local clamor, they will add a button and blinking yellow lights.

Assholes!

The State official involved should visit Key West and try to cross Northern Boulevard at different times of the day. His life will be in danger!

Super Bowl tonight! I will be watching at a private party of two.

On this day in 1964, the Beatles landed in New York. Two days later on February 9, they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Seventy two million watched them on TV.

It was a moment in American musical history.

Money/value was different in those days. The Beatles signed to appear on three Ed Sullivan shows for a grand package of $10,000.

The Beatles made it to Key West later in the year. They were flying to Jacksonville and had to put down in Key West to avoid Hurricane Dora. They stayed at a Southern Boulevard motel.

It is reported that after the Beatles left, people were going onto the property to fill small bottles of water from the pool the Beatles swam in.

Between this morning and late afternoon, i will be writing this week’s KONK Life column. A Li’l Abner introduction. Joe Btfspik and the cloud always over his head.

Enjoy your Sunday!