SNOWBIRDS RETURN

The season has arrived. Unquestionably.

From what I can see, not as many tourists as normal. Might be Irma and the fear Key West not ready to accept tourists. Which is not the case. Or, it could be the cost of a Key West vacation. Pricey. I have begun to wonder if Key West is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

A different story as  to snowbirds. Those who have second homes in Key West and return on a regular basis. They are here ten fold.

I pointed out yesterday the massive turnout at the Gardens sunday. Mostly snowbirds. Last night the same at Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. The crowd unusually big.

Tom Luna and Rick Dery their usual selves. Their singing off the walls. Everyone joining in. The fun part.

Ran into Joe Lysle at Aqua. Made a  mistake a few days ago when I reported he was the new concierge at Casa Marina. He is a concierge, though at the Reach. Both Waldorf Astoria Hotels.

Enjoyed dinner at Tavern ‘n Town following Dueling Bartenders.

I frequently complain about bicyclists. A danger to themselves and the autos on the streets. Bicyclists have no consideration for rules of the road. One way streets, stop signs, red lights, etc. They think they own the roads. Tourists primarily.

Every day a danger.

In the dark of last night, I was returning home. Almost two accidents involving my car and a bicycle. Both bicyclists without lights and ran stop signs.

An accident did occur over the weekend. A bicyclist at 2:19 in the morning driving the wrong way on one way Olivia Street. Came into contact with a Key West police SUV at the intersection of Olivia with White Street.

The bicyclists hit his head on the front passenger door of the police vehicle. He was helicoptered to a Miami trauma center. The police officer and the K-9 dog with him sustained no injuries.

Irma’s after effects refuse to go away. Irma hit the lower Keys September 10. Work still to be done.

Debris clean up major! County and back roads the last to get attention. The County announced yesterday that all debris has been finally removed from County roads.

A major undertaking!

Next, the canals and waterways close to shore. Homes, boats, refrigerators, TV sets, etc. plugging the canals and shore lines. Together with trees and shrubbery.

The last chapter of my recent book Irma and Me is titled Post Irma and is dated October 15. I wrote at the time the debris clean up was on going. Noted…..The debris is non-ending.

I did not realize how correct I was! Here it is five months later and the work continues.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section mentioned Key West’s first electric trolley car began operation on Duval Street this date 1899. Carried 500 people the first day.

Brought to mind my youthful days. I clearly recall riding electric trolley cars in my home town Utica. The Bleecker Street line. In the late 1930’s into 1941. I was anywhere from 3-6 years old at the time.

I googled Utica and electric trolley cars. Came up with This Week in Mohawk Valley History. Includes Utica. The author Frank Tomaino, an outstanding newspaper man back when.

His article indicated Utica’s first trolleys were horse drawn. Began operating in 1863. The first electric trolley St. Patrick’s Day 1890. The last Utica electric trolley train 1941. Went to the barn forever.

Tuesday again. Comes frequently every week. Tonight, my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

So much happening these days. Most news worthy. I am constantly revising the tuesday night show. As late as dinner time on tuesday. Things worthy of comment occurring hourly it seems.

Tonight will be a fast moving half hour show covering 10 or so topics of interest. My opinions also, of course. Join me. I guarantee you will enjoy.

Portraits of former American Presidents and their spouses hang in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Those of President Obama and Michelle were unveiled yesterday.

Loved Barack’s. Different. The artist Kehinde Wiley. A black man. Established.

News releases today indicated Wiley enjoys challenging the power of white women in his works. Black women decapitating white women.

Did the President know? He must have. He and Michelle selected their artists.

Michelle’s painting I did not like. The concept lovely. Problem is the painting does not look like Michelle.

Michelle’s artist Amy Sherald. A black woman. She had a heart transplant several years ago.

Trump never seems to blame men for sexual wrongdoings. Denial by the man sufficient grounds not to denounce him.

Trump is sick. His thinking probably motivated by the 17 odd women who claimed during the election that they had been sexually harassed by him. He denied the charges. Must be he does not want to blow his cover of denial by not accepting the denials of others.

Enjoy your day!

 

100 YEARS LATER…..ANOTHER FLU EPIDEMIC

It was 1918. Millions died world wide. From the worst flu epidemic up to that time.

Now 100 years later. A flu epidemic of huge proportions gripping the United States. Not as devastating as the 1918 epidemic. Affecting more than normal, however.

The flu vaccine this year only 10-30 percent effective. A new flu bug. N3N2. The vaccine ineffective against it.

California hit bad. The hospitals full. Giant camp like tents being set up in parking lots to accomodate the sick. Nurses being brought in from out of state. Hospitals already full beyond capacity turning away ambulances.

Persons over and below 65 dying. The young normally can handle an attack and survive. Yet 40 under 65 have already died this year. The year is not yet a month old. Last year, 9.

The 1918 flu epidemic hit Utica. I was not born yet. The family has told me of relatives who died. There was a significant relative who did not die. My grandfather.

He was dying. My grandmother attempted the only recourse left her. She prayed. To Saints Cosmas and Damian. Saints revered by immigrant Italians.

The Saints were twins, physicians and martyrs.

Every year on the last weekend in September, a feast honoring Cosmas and Damian was held in Utica. Still is to this day. My grandmother told the Saints she would march in the procession on the Sunday morning of the feast barefoot the rest of her life if they saved my grandfather’s life.

She did.

My grandfather recovered. He lived to 94.

I have a specific recollection of the feast and Sunday morning procession. My grandmother permitted me to join her when I was small.

I wore shoes, however. She, barefoot as promised.

My grandmother carried a candle. A big one! Three feet high and 3 inches in diameter.

Some years, not easy.

I have my grandparents’ wedding picture hanging in my living room. My grandmother was a sleek beauty. Thin. By 1918, she had 7 children and the years showed bodywise. She was a typical Italian grandmother. Short and obese.

The walk and candle were hard for her. Some years, the sweat poured from her. She persevered. Never missed the feast till her late 60’s when she developed heart problems.

Tomorrow could be a significant day in American history. Budget or no budget. A confrontation. Who will blink? Will anyone blink?

Key West weather continues to be cold. The high today projected at 60 degrees. The low tonight 53.

An emotional story on page one of the Key West Citizen this morning. Photos, also.

Two Vietnam veterans meeting again after 53 year. Willie Powell, Houston, Texas and Ray Gutierrez, Key West. They had fought together shoulder to shoulder in the jungles of Vietnam.

They discovered each other last year on the internet.

Powell was in on a cruise ship with his daughter. The two men spent the day together.

I don’t know what it was. The way the story was written or the essence of the story itself. Whatever, the story brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, the Chart Room and Tavern ‘n Town.

The Chart Room great! Good crowd, interesting people.

Things a bit confusing at first. A very lovely young lady standing on one side of me and a couple seated on the other. Turned out all three had roots in Cape May, New Jersey. Their conversation was running through me and over me till the young lady moved to an empty seat next to the woman.

Eventually, I was allowed into the conversation.

The young lady is Morgan. Extremely beautiful. No exaggeration. Twenty six years old. Recently moved to Key West. Her mother already living here.

Morgan bubbly. Well educated. She has a Master’s Degree. Geography. Started working two days ago at the Naval Base at Boca Chica. She is employed by the federal government. Excellent starting salary and benefits.

Turned out Morgan knew me. She has been reading this blog quite a while.

The couple were Ed and Yvonne. Now residing in Charleston, South Carolina. Run a beach bar. For 30 years. Three grown children.

They have been visiting Key West twice a year for 15 years.

Now looking to buy. They started looking this trip. Ed and I spoke about Key West real estate, the value of living in Key West, etc.

It was time to eat. I headed out to Tavern ‘n Town. Lucky to get a seat at the bar. Enjoyed prime rib again. Getting to be my diet dinner. Only the meat and au jus sauce.

Guaranteed fun night this evening. Dinner party at Donna and Terri’s. Eight of us. Large stone crabs!

My book. Irma and Me. The hurricane and Louis. Forget me not. Available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and kobobooks.com.

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!

EMILY

Emily was the Keys’ first dance partner of the season. There had been four others. However, of no consequence. Hurricane season is upon us.

Emily was a tropical depression yesterday morning in the Gulf 50 miles off Tampa. She hit as a tropical storm, however. A step up from a depression. Ran across the Florida peninsula. Dissipating as it left.

Brought with it 6-8 inches of rain and winds 45 miles per hour.

I assume the rain Key West received yesterday afternoon and last night represented the fringes of Emily. Rained extremely heavy in Key West. Hurricane rain without wind.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. Join me. Interesting material. A fast paced half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

I worked on the show yesterday afternoon. For some reason, I have a multitude of items to discuss. Will never cover all of them.

My plan is to open with a lengthy report re prison labor. Inmates are the new American slavery. Followed by a Venezuela update, a jury finding Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt, Trump writing son Don’s release re the famous meeting, Scaramucci gone crazy and gone.

Robots continue to be big. Expanding into all areas. Now, sex.

An Austrian company is selling robots for sex purposes. Spain has two brothels providing services only in the brothels. $80-100 per hour. Customer comments suggest the robots better than the real thing.

A bank in Sweden is using robots to deal with customer problems, opening new accounts, etc. Cheaper than paying a human being.

Both robot situations will be discussed this evening.

Time permitting, I want to touch on millennials still living at home with their parents. A study looked at 18-34 year olds. One third are living with their parents. A shocking number.

While I was preparing for tonight’s show, Terri was putting my new desk chair together. Terri is fantastic! Got right to it. Put the chair together step by step. I was impressed.

I am also impressed by the chair. Leather and huge. Made for an extra tall person. All kinds of special buttons. Cheaper to purchase than the one it replaced. I bought the previous one at Office Max. Fell apart in a year. The new one purchased over the internet through Amazon. Fifty dollars cheaper and much better quality.

A 5 o’clock visit with Dr. McIvor. The best of the best! A great staff supporting him. Heart good. No changes. Something else? More blood work next week.

I continue to be tired. Close to exhaustion on occasion. Climbing stairs leaves me breathless. My blood pressure at the Doctor’s top side was 186.

Oh, well!

I said screw it. Instead of going home went to Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. Bobby Nesbitt joined Tom Luna and Rick Dery. Terrific!

Yes, I had a couple of drinks.

Locals night at Aqua. Friend Liz and Josefina. Jean Thornton. Her husband Joe back in Birmingham having been diagnosed with shingles.

I periodically refer to Jean as the Golden Girl. Back around 1996, she discovered gold and emeralds while diving with Mel Fisher. A teacher friend from Birmingham was with her. Debbie. They discovered the booty at the same time.

Together, referred to as the Golden Girls.

Debbie visits Key West once a year. Her Key West visit this week.. We talked a while last night. Charming. Too bad she does not spend more time in Key West. She would be a welcome addition to our community.

A fellow at the bar stopped me. Reads the blog. Wanted to tell me he was from Utica. Utica, Illinois.

Stopped at Tavern ‘n Town for dinner on the way home.

Another alligator spotted in Key West. Off Northern Boulevard in the water in the Garrison Bight area. A picture of the alligator in this morning’s Key West Citizen. About 5 feet long.

Watch where you swim, friends!

Enjoy your day!

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!