CACTUS DICK AND THE SANTA FE RIDERS

Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders. A country music group. From yesterday.

American Bandstand’s Dick Clark was Cactus Dick. A live television show. Back in the early 1950’s in my home town Utica.

After graduating Syracuse University, Clark worked a year for a radio station in Rome. Fourteen miles from Utica. His uncle owned the station, his father managed it. He filled in for the vacationing weatherman and announced station breaks.

A spot opened at Utica’s WKTV  television station. Clark went for it.

The rest is history. Clark hosted American Bandstand for years, as well as other TV shows. Became a multi-million dollar producer.

An American success story. From the weather on radio to Cactus Dick on TV to American Bandstand.

I write about Clark today because of a note I saw this morning. Clark died this date in 2012.

My evening last night began with Aqua and the Dueling Bartenders. Friends Tom Luna and Rick Dey. Strangely, not one patron I knew. I did meet some new interesting people, however.

Tom introduced me to Margaret and Lou. Lou aka Bud. From Tampa. Have owned a place in Key West for years. Bought at Truman Annex’s Shipyard pre-construction. An outstanding purchase!

Good company. Sure we will run into each other again at some point.

Also met Gina and Mike. Visiting from Chicago. Second time in Key West. Gina a waitress and Mike in software. Interesting people. Spent quite a while with them.

Hungry! Decoded I needed/wanted a good meal. The diet has begun getting to me. Stopped into Antonia’s. Ate at the bar.

Antonia’s was one of two of my favorite places for years. The other Square One. Owners change. I think I have only been to Antonia’s once in 10 years.

The ambiance the same. Still. Quiet. Decor beautiful. A pleasant place to enjoy a fine meal.

Food still good. I had escargot and linguine bolognese.

Met bartender Alexis. Nice guy. From Romania.

Slept late this morning. I am two hours late in getting this blog out. You will not be getting it till after noon.

Heard from Buffalo’s Tom and Fran Dixon. They will be here from thursday through tuesday. Great people! They visit several times a year. We have become good friends.

Love Fran! She brings me goodies. Cooks all kinds of things and carries them in her luggage. The last trip home made pasta and meat sauce with meatballs. The sauce and meatballs frozen. Stayed frozen during the trip.

Immigration has always been a problem. One way or another.

On this day in 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol blocked exit from Key West and the Keys at Florida City. They believed illegal aliens were gaining entry to the U.S. via the Keys.

Traffic was backed up 15 miles.

American pride got a big boost this day in 1942. Jimmy Doolittle and his raiders bombed Tokyo. First successful U.S. attack following Pearl Harbor. Doolittle led 16 B-25 bombers on the raid. They flew off the carrier USS Hornet. From a distance 650 miles from Tokyo.

My podcast tonight. Nine my time. A fast moving and revealing half hour. Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Topics include Donald and Ivanka Trump’s Chinese trade marks recently acquired, Afghan missile deaths up to 94, India ATMs out of cash, American liberated Libya now ISIS controlled with slave markets everywhere.

Also, a 3 month old brought in by English authorities as a terrorist, an Alabama sheriff starving prisoners, robots ready to build new homes, India uses Coca Cola and Pepsi as pesticides, Venezuela’s Maduro may be close to a fall, and more.

The lead topic will be China’s horrendous way of harvesting body organs.

Enjoy your day!

SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! COLD! COLD! COLD!

The northeast was hit big time by snow yesterday and last night. Barbara telephoned from Utica. Twenty four inches. Bridgewater 20 miles away more.

That takes care of the snow.

The cold applies to Key West. Yes, I complain. Whenever cold up north, cold here. Though significantly less. Low 60s during the night. Sixty six at the moment. High expected 69.

Anything under 74 cold to we locals. Our blood thin from living in warm weather.

I have not yet turned the heat on. Perhaps tonight when 59 degrees is projected.

Spring break time in Key West. Some brave college students will be on the beaches. Most will  spend the day in bars. Party time!

The snow up north cancelled Syracuse’s game in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse was to play UNC-Greensboro in the opener of the NIT.

My time out yesterday was a 2 hour lunch break. Cuban Coffee Queen. Cuban cheese toast, Cuban coffee and the newspapers. I love sitting at the Cuban Coffee Queen and reading. A  quiet peaceful place.

Watch my new video show on Facebook. Find it under Key West Lou. Yesterday’s topic was Make America Sick Again. Trumpcare.

I cannot take credit for the title. Heard Eugene Robinson mention it.

I will be doing today’s video in a couple of hours. No title yet. Subject matter involves the money the US has spent in Afghanistan over 15 years with no appreciable results. Moe than the U.S. spent with the Marshall Plan in rebuilding Europe following World War II.

My podcast last night at 9 concerned Trump’s tax returns. How legally Congress could subpoena them if it so desires. Rachel Maddow was on MSNBC at the same time. Her show concerned Trump’s tax returns. She had two pages of his 2005 return.

I caught Maddow’s show in the middle of the night on a rerun.

The Battleship Maine is part of Key West history. The vessel left Key West for Havana. Many of its Naval dead rest in our Key West Cemetery. A special monument erected in the cemetery, also. The monument dedication was attended by 10,000 persons.

Today’s Custom House was a recently constructed federal building in 1898. On this date in 1898, the Battleship Maine Court of Inquiry began.

William Hackley’s story continues. One item in today’s diary mentions that he spent some time reading Household Words. Curiosity struck me. What was Household Words?

In the 1850s, Charles Dickens edited Household Words. A literary magazine. Serialized novels amongst other things. The work provided Dickens with some income while he was working on his own novels.

The title Household Words comes from Shakespeare’s Henry V…..Familiar in his mouth as household words.

Staying with Shakespeare for a moment, today is March 15. The Ides of March. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. A soothsayer told Caesar as he was walking to the Forum…..Beware the Ides of March.

Caesar’s best friend was Marcus Brutus. He was the first to stab Caesar. In the back. Caesar looked over his shoulder and saw Brutus. Caesar uttered…..Et tu, Brute.

Only Shakespeare could write the lines. The power of simplicity.

One other item of significance occurred on this day. This time 1917. Russia’s Czar Nicholas II abdicated. Civil War followed. White Bolsheviks and Red Bolsheviks. The Reds communists. The Reds won.

I view Putin as the grandson of the Russian Revolution.

Enjoy your day!

 

TO GARAGE OR NOT TO GARAGE

Pru Sowers…..one of Key West’s finest newspaper writers.

She reports in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast re the on and off Greene Street garage proposal. The title of her article similar to Hamlet’s soliloquy…..To be or not to be. Pru’s….. To garage or not to garage.

The article a reflection (from my perspective) of the City Commission’s disarray.

Parking a recognized problem. Two new parking garages bandied around since 2011. One on Greene Street. The City Commission in its divine wisdom voted unanimously in September no garage on Greene Street.

Not a group to let sleeping dogs lie, the City Commission voted to reexamine the issue on November 15 by a 5-2 vote. The vote does not signify that the garage will pass. It is thought most who voted to reexamine will subsequently vote against the garage.

So why waste time looking at the issue again? To accommodate the desire of Commissioner Richard Payne. A retired Florida State Judge. He has a tendency to screw things up.

Kate Miano is one of Key West’s leading citizens. Owner of the highly successful Gardens. The Gardens is across the street from the relatively new public parking lot behind the new City Hall.

Kate walks her dog three times a day by the parking lot. Pru’s article reports Kate’s comment that the lot is never full. I can attest to that. I park there almost daily. Only twice in a year was there not a parking spot.

Kate went a step further. She walked over to the City Parking Department and asked questions. She learned that in the year running from October 2015 to October 2016, parking lot revenue was down. Fell 18.7 percent from the previous year.

Key West needs parking. Desperately. Not a garage on Greene Street, however. Part of the parking problem would be relieved if the City Commission voted to allow Uber and Lyft to operate. Difficult. The Bubba system stands in the way.

Dinner last night with Liz and her house guest J. Richard Hunt. An enjoyable evening. Liz an excellent cook.

I learned that being the Dean of a law school has become a business in itself. Liz was Dean of two. Richard, one better. Of three.

It is cold this morning. Second day in a row. Cold is 70-74 degrees. Yes, such is cold in Key West. I am wearing a sweat shirt as I write.

My home town Utica in upstate New York is experiencing big time snow the past 24 hours,. More today. Already 12-15 inches. Temperature in the low 20s. Chill factor even lower.

One thing I have learned living in Key West these many years. when it is cold cold up north, it is cold in Key West.

Installment 19 of Key West Rotary history.

Disaster strikes. Sometimes we do not appreciate the practical impacts.

The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane was a 5. Blew out many Flagler railroad bridges. Parts of the highway gone. People could not get back and forth to the mainland. Miami not accessible. Ferries could not operate. Mail significantly reduced. Food prices shot up, where food was available. The law of supply and demand.

The Key West Rotary’s Annual Report issued January 1, 1936, stated the greatest community need was the reestablishment of adequate transportation facilities with the mainland. Noted specifically that parts of the railroad and highway were destroyed by the hurricane.

At the January board meeting, the Club took several steps.

First, the financing of a delegation to Cuba. Interesting why. To obtain the assistance of Cuban government and commercial agencies in having the railroad rebuilt.

I could not determine if the delegation ever went and what, if any, was its success.

The board formed a special committee to correspond with U.S. agencies directly or indirectly concerned with the problems caused by the hurricane.

The February 17, 1936 board meeting centered on air mail and passenger service. The need to improve them. Without the railroad, highway or ability of the ferries to operate, airplanes were the only thing left.

Passenger planes only carried four passengers. More seats on the planes required.

Mail service next to non existent. The suggestion was the airplanes be used to carry first class mail.

The lack of bus transportation a concern.

Key West had become isolated.

The March board meeting noted some progress. The highway had been cleared. Bus transportation began in late February. No vehicular traffic, however.

Letters of support, etc. had been received from Postmaster Farley and Florida’s two federal senators.

Bascom Grooms was outspoken at the meeting. He convinced  the Club to support the conversion of the railroad bridges to handle vehicular traffic.

Enjoy your day!

KEY WEST APPEARS SAFE

Missed the bullet again! So it appears. We get past tomorrow and everything definitely ok.

99L is still 99L. Has not reached tropical storm or hurricane strength. It will pass over us some time today and tonight. Big rain and wind. When it hits the Gulf, it may grow to hurricane status. Will not affect the Keys.

At the moment, 99L is near Cuba.

Better safe than sorry. I finally hurricane shopped yesterday. Even if only for a couple of days of rain and wind.

Not expensive. Probably because I did not buy enough. I have no faith that the storm will have increased in strength when it goes over Key West.

$80 covered everything. Two flashlights and a battery operated lamp at Home Depot. Crackers, peanut butter, jam, sardines, fruits and puddings already prepared that do not require refrigerating, gallons of water, bottled water, etc. at Publix.

A sign that the storm is not being taken seriously was Home Depot and Publix. When a storm is around the corner, they feature everywhere water, flashlights, batteries. Publix, certain foods.

No such displays yesterday.

Another indication that a problem may be ahead are the shelves of bottled water. Non-existent. Yesterday, not even a dent.

For those unaware, foods must be purchased that do not require refrigeration. Electricity is the first to go. Galloned water needed to flush the toilets. the plumbing screws up.

My plan was to spend yesterday afternoon researching this week’s KONK column. I would then write it today.

I started around 2. Did not get far. Pop ups. Multiple full page ones. Not with every site. Definitely with the sites I needed for research.

The column will be about Mylan, its CEO Heather Bresch, her father Senator Joe Manchin, and Epi Pens. The connection between politics and corporate America. Favors done. A today issue. As regards Mylan, on the verge of becoming explosive. A shameful situation.

I telephoned Tim Reynolds in Tampa. Used to live and work in Key West. Computer guru. does it for a living. He is hooked up to my computer so he can take care of problems.

Took four hours to get rid of the pop ups. A pain in the ass! By the time the problem was corrected, I was exhausted. I was working along with Tim.

Not in any condition to research. Not even go out. Put the research off to today. Research and write in one day. Onerus!

I got up at 5 and sat at the computer immediately. Research complete. I will write this afternoon.

I love my roots. Utica, NY. Unfortunately, economically depressed more than sixty years. My brother in law Robert Palmieri is Mayor. He has a thankless task in trying to get things going.

A study was recently done re the 10 worst places to live in New York State. Utica was #9. I would have expected it to be closer to #1. Reasons included crime, jobs, income levels, and cheap homes.

The sole favorable report was that General Electric was returning. Many many years ago, GE was one of Utica’s major employers.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

GREAT BLIZZARD OF 1888

Sitting here in Key West enjoying 80 degree weather, I write first of snow. Lots of snow. The Great Blizzard of 1888. The northeast. New York City hit hard, as Boston  was in recent weeks. However, the Great Blizzard took only 24 hours.

Considered one of the most severe blizzards ever, it claimed 400 lives. Twenty to sixty inches of snow fell in different areas. Winds 45 mph. Snowdrifts in excess of 50 feet.

Roscoe Conkling had studied law in my home town of Utica, NY. He became District Attorney of the County and Mayor of Utica. Then engaged in a thriving law practice. He was considered a great orator. Conkling was elected to the House of Representatives several times and then served for 18 years in the U.S. Senate.

He became a major political figure state wide and nationally. He made presidents. One being Ulysses Grant. Grant offered him the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Conkling refused. Years earlier, he was nominated to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice and was confirmed by the Senate. He refused the nomination after his confirmation.

He was a known philanderer. A woman chaser. There is the story of the husband coming home early, Conkling going out the back window, the husband chasing him with a shotgun.

Conkling took care of his body. He worked out daily.

He was in his office on Wall Street when the Great Blizzard hit. He could not get a horse and carriage to take him home. Being in the excellent shape he was, he decided to walk. Three miles from Wall Street to 25th Street. He never made it home. He collapsed, came down with pneumonia and died.

He is buried in Utica. A simple yet massive stone. It sits on a little hill which runs along Oneida Street. The retaining wall holding the hill has been crumbling for years.

His stone faces west. Utica developed to the west. The cemetery to the east behind the stone. When Conkling was buried, he was placed in his grave as he was so that he could forever have an uninterrupted view of the valley before him. Progress decided otherwise and Utica developed in that area to the west, thereby placing his stone near a heavy traffic thoroughfare. Few take the time to look at the stone. Even fewer know Conkling is buried there.

I write about the blizzard and Conkling for a number of reasons. Today is the anniversary of the Great Blizzard. His career was outstanding. His stone and place of burial interesting.

I enjoy walking through cemeteries. The history of an area or the person is carved into the stones. What can be learned fascinating. I first came across Conkling’s stone and burial place on one of those walks many years ago.

Fantasy Fest seems to have survived its most recent onslaught. The Key West Commission and Fantasy Fest promoters met last night. Some minimal advertising changes were agreed to. Otherwise, everything will remain as it has been.

I agree with the outcome. My philosophy is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Spring break is upon us. The college kids appear well behaved. They seem to be having a great time.

I envy them. I neither knew of spring break nor could have afforded it had I known when I was in college.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Listeners appeared most interested in the letter sent to Iran by 47 Republican Senators.

I spoke of Nicholas Maduro. He is President of Venezuela. I have been talking about him for three years. The man is a nut case. He becomes more troublesome by the day. Troublesome as regards the United States. The man bears watching.

KONK Life hits the streets today. If you have a chance, read my column. Mass Killings Common. I wrote the article because of recent ISIS atrocities such beheadings and burning people alive.

Enjoy your day!