“Shithole countries…..”

Racist. Bigoted.

Nordic. Aryan.

Authoritarian today. Totalitarian tomorrow.

Democracy being tested as never before.

Finally! Got new eyeglasses yesterday. Took 2 months and 3 prescriptions. I can see! Everything distinct and visible. Street signs, buildings, etc. Colors vibrant. Like when I had cataracts removed 35 years ago.

Dinner last night at La Trattoria with Jean Thornton. My  Birmingham hostess following my escape from Irma. Husband Joe was supposed to join us. He has pneumonia. Very tired.

They return to Birmingham today. Will return 3 months from now. Two months at home in Birmingham followed by a one month trip to some part of Europe.

Following dinner, Jean went to Vino’s and I to the Chart Room.

I was to meet Kentucky David at the Chart Room. He was waiting when I arrived.

Met David here a few years ago. He and his wife are snowbirds. They own a second home in Bahama Village. Kentucky home. David a die hard Kentucky fan.

The blog brought us together. Occasionally, we watch a game together at Jack Flatts. On an evening when both Syracuse and Kentucky are playing. Though not each other. We sit at the bar next to each other. Two TV sets in front of us. One with the Syracuse game, the other Kentucky.

David has taken to writing. A mystery. He told me about it.

Takes place in Key West. His fact pattern amazing. David has a vivid imagination. Characters and events I could never come up with.

My publisher advised me once to write a mystery or love story. They sell the best, he said.

I could not get into the mystery. I lacked the necessary imagination. Tried a love story. Publisher said lots of sex. Thought the writing would be a snap. No, again. I found it difficult to put on paper that which I might have experienced.

Met Laura and Jamey. From Iowa City, Iowa. Told them how much I admired Iowans. Shared with them the loving story of my Iowa friends Cindy and Tom.

Jamey sells financial products. Laura a stay at home Mom. Three children.

Laura and Jamey were married at the Pier House 9 years ago. They have returned to Key West once a year since.

Walmart announced yesterday that the new tax law made it possible to do something for its employees. The starting hourly wage was raised to $11 an hour, employee benefits expanded, and bonuses up to $1,000 depending on length of employment.

Sounded good.

Walmart failed to announce plans to close  60 or 63 Sam’s Clubs. Affects 11,000 employees. They received notices of the closings via FedEx during the day. Some went to work before receiving the notice to find locked doors and signs indicating the closing.

Give with one hand and take back with the other. Hero and heel at the same time.

I am old enough to remember Amos ‘n’ Andy. A popular radio show when I was a kid. A comedy.

Two fast talking black men from the Deep South who moved to Chicago to seek their fortunes. However, the black men were not black. They were white men imitating black men. Freeman Gosden and Charles Carrell.

Amos ‘n’ Andy became the most popular radio program in American history. Ran 22 years.

I mention Amos ‘n’ Andy because I recall frequently listening to it. And because on this day in 1926, the show first aired.

Broadway Joe Namath. Alabama football star. New York Jets star quarterback.

Super Bowl III time. Pro football divided into two leagues. The NFL and AFL. The AFL relatively new. The NFL tried and true. Considered superior.

Two teams met this date in 1969 in Super Bowl III. New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts. The money on the Colts.

Three days before the game, Namath announced to the world the Jets would win. In fact, he guaranteed it.

The Jets did win. 17-6. One of the greatest upsets in American sports history.

Enjoy your day!



They don’t come better than Kate Miano. A heart of gold, concerned for everyone, a community leader, a respected voice. And my friend.

It has been announced Kate will receive the Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year Award. A big deal. Key West’s most prestigious recognition.

Kate will receive the award at a gala on January 27.

Congratulations Dear Lady. I know of no one more worthy.

There is something about small towns and parades. The best!

Key West’s Christmas Parade is December 2. A ton of Santa Claus’ riding on floats, candy thrown to children at the curb viewing in awe, bands, noise, etc.

Everyone turns out to watch. I will be with Robert and Ally at our usual spot on Truman.

Thanksgiving was thursday. I get to celebrate it again this evening with Donna and Terri. Lucky me!

A double hit. Oh, the pounds!

I am concerned not. The heart catherization doctor said lose 40-50 pounds. I start monday. Stay tuned to see if I make it all the way.

Christina Oxenberg is one of Key West’s finest writers. Her words soul touching. Sensitive best describes them.

Christine had a column in KONK Life this morning. About Kenyatta Arrington. Arrington one of those people who contribute to Key West’s culture.

Christina points out he rode a bike for years. With his back in ramrod fashion. Always wore a tight worn velvet suit with buttons all over and a top hat.

He would sing outside the supermarket. His voice described as angelic.

Last year, rid himself of the suit, bought a new wig and moved his venue to Duval.

Christina learned he was saving money to move to Norway. He was in love and his lady was waiting for him.

He will not make it. His impaled body was found floating near the pier.

Woodrow Wilson commented on a person’s ego. The quote reminds me of Trump: “All the extraordinary men I have ever known were chiefly extraordinary in their own estimation.”

Trump tells us the economy is fine. On the rise in every respect.

Thanksgiving was celebrated this week. Not all Americans gave thanks. Many are still without. A recent study indicated the number of homeless in major cities is comparable to those that existed during the Great Depression.

The number of homeless is increasing rather than going down. Homelessness is reaching the crisis level. A state of emergency brewing.

An example is an area described as most of Los Angeles County. Shelters are bedding down 55,000 per night. Up 25 percent from last year. Includes men, women and children. The number does not include those that sleep in cars, the woods and under bridges.

Homeless children nationwide are up 60 percent since the end of the recession.

Things are good, Mr. President! You and yours should swap places with the homeless for a week.

The terrorist attack on an Egyptian mosque killed in excess of 300, injured in excess of 100.

The Arab world is engaged in war one way or another. One of my concerns is that the U.S. is fighting on different sides in some of these wars. Resulting from Trump’s decisions.

He knows not what he is doing.

Robots keep coming. Walmart the most recent major business testing their use.

Walmart is quietly testing two new robots. One self-driving floor scrubbers. The other self-scanning robots to replenish inventory on shelves.

Each will replace humans. The poor middle class will be further diminished.

Syracuse plays Boston College at 12:20 today. The last football game of the season for Syracuse. Good! The season has not been a spectacular one.

I must say however Coach Baber has done an excellent job in improving the team. Next year should be a much better season.

I close with Irma and Me. My book re Hurricane Irma and how she chased me through several states and disrupted my life and that of several others.

The book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

Enjoy your day!






Today is Palm Sunday. A Christian holiday. The day Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

A donkey instead of a horse. Reasons two fold. First, to show humility. Second, to evidence to the people that He came in peace and not as a warrior king.

The people scattered palm branches in front of Jesus.

His entry into Jerusalem triumphal.

Less than a week later, Jesus would be dead.

Though not a major holiday, Palm Sunday was one my Italian family celebrated. Generally at my grandparents’. The whole family. Aunts, uncles and cousins.

The meal not unusual. That would come next week on Easter Sunday. A huge bowl of ziti. If a special touch at all, melted mozzarella on top of the ziti. A meat sauce, of course. Meat consisted of the meatballs, beef and pork which were part of the sauce. A huge pasta bowl of such meats. Salad. The meal concluded with espresso and fruit.

My grandfather would start dinner with a blessing. He would take a small piece of palm and dip it into a bottle of Holy Water he kept. He would say a few words and sprinkle us.

The palms were a big deal. You had to go to Church to get palms. They were given out during Mass. When I was a kid, all the palms a person wanted. In later years, each person attending Church got one. Cost, scarcity, or what? I could never figure it out.

My uncles were pros at making crosses and other things out of palms. Small crosses, large crosses. Horses and other animals. Like the balloons of today which can be molded into anything.

The Italian custom was to visit the homes of friends after Mass. To exchange palms. A hug and kiss. Followed by a Happy Palm Sunday!

I was invited by friends on Sugarloaf to party last night. Drinks at someone’s house first. Then dinner at Square Grouper.

About 20 miles each way. Too far for me if I was drinking. I wanted to have a few drinks since I have been avoiding as best possible alcohol while on a diet.

So, I opted for Berlin’s alone.

Shawn and Gage bartending. The lovely Bria singing. Tuna for dinner.

After dinner, I sat in the lounge for a while listening to Bria sing and sipping a Bally’s Irish Cream.

While at the bar, a hug from behind. It was Lynda Frechette. Together with husband Bob, ML and Brad. All good people. Especially Lynda who does for everyone. They were having dinner inside at A&B.

Bob was wearing a blazer. Confirmed my thought expressed earlier this week that the no jacket Key West no longer existed. Bob had jumped over the fence.

Another couple was listening to Bria also. Charlie and Margo. Margo visiting from Maine. Charlie originally from Fonda, New York. Like 70 miles from my home town Utica. Small world.

Bob now lives full time in Key West. On a boat located in a Stock Island marina.

Walmart, where fort art thou Walmart?

Roughly 10 years since it was announced that a private group was going to build a Walmart on Rockland Key. 335,000 square feet with some smaller stores.

Still not built. Key West Citizen reported yesterday size now 150,000 feet. No date to begin construction advised.

The problem has involved the land owners and developers. Ten years of fighting over money, including a court case.

I wish they would get the project off the ground. We need a Walmart in the lower keys. We wear shorts and t-shirts. Brooks Brothers we are not.

We also need a cheaper place to purchase groceries.

The Key West Citizen wrote on the first page of this morning’s paper that taxis are going the way of the dinosaur. No question about it. Such the case, the City Commission should get off its ass and approve Uber and Lyft for Key West operation.

Let me finish with Trump’s bombing of Syria.

I was/am generally opposed. Not our war. I don’t see the English, French or Germans bombing anyone. They’re too smart.

On the other hand, once the Rubicon has been crossed, Trump should have done the job correctly. Destroyed Assad’s Air Force.

What did Trump do? Fifty nine missiles. Directed at one air base. Twenty planes destroyed. Twelve killed.

In retaliation for 70 plus lives lost. Proportionate? No way!

Even worse, not one of the runways was damaged. It is said the U.S. spoke with Russia in the afternoon and advised what we were going to do. I suspect that during any conversations, Russia said no potholes in the runways, please.

The Democrats describe the bombing as a pin prick. I have to agree. Not a political conclusion on my part. A common sense one.

Enjoy your Sunday!




Don Rickles died this past week. He was 90 years old.

Rickles was a comedian extraordinaire! His type comedy off the beaten track. Insulting! Over the top so!

A stand up comedian, he was like a bull getting the best of the matador. He gored his subject matter. Generally, some one in the audience.

I was his victim one time.

It was the mid 1970’s. I was staying at the Plaza in New York City. Rickles was performing at the Copacabana. The shows were 7 and 9. I wanted to see the 9 o’clock show. No room at the inn. Seating only available for the 7 o’clock show.

I would not be seeing Rickles.

My room was on the back side of the Plaza. I had to use the small elevator at the back of the first floor to get to my room.

In was late afternoon when I got in the elevator. No one else on the elevator. As the doors were closing, a body came bursting through. It was Don Rickles.

We nodded to each other. I started in. Explained my desire to see the 9 o’clock show, no room, etc. Could he help? Took a piece of paper and pen out of his pocket. Asked my name and wrote it down.

He told me to enter through the front door of the Copa. Ignore the long line waiting to get in. Ask for a Mr. somebody. The elevator stopped, doors opened and Rickles was gone.

I was thrilled.

I was dressed and ready early. The Copa was walking distance from the Plaza. As I walked by the Pierre, I decided there was time for a drink. The Pierre bar one of the most intimate in New York City.

As luck would have it, I met a young lady from Paris. We started talking. I asked if she would like to join me for the Don Rickles show at the Copa.

She was as thrilled as I was. She picked her extra long mink off the back of her chair and dragged it behind her as we went out the door.

The Copa at this point was two blocks away. We arrived. The line was long outside. I followed Rickles’  instructions. We walked in without waiting. Mr. somebody was there. He asked us to sit at a table on the side and brought us drinks.

The show at the Copa was not on the first floor where we were seated. The show room was in the basement.

After the long line had gone through, my Parisian friend and I were alone in what was a big room also. Had we been forgotten?

Mr. somebody suddenly appeared and escorted us downstairs. The room was packed. He snapped his fingers and all of a sudden two waiters showed up, one carrying a small table above his head. We and the table were escorted right up front. Not even first row. A step beyond.

A bottle of champagne appeared.

To truly image the Copa, recall Goodfellas. Several scenes were shot in the room.

I thought how lucky I was to have run into Rickles. The treatment was top shelf.

Rickles came out. It took him all of three minutes to attack me. I was the show! For a half hour. He beat me, abused me, made fun of me.

Told the crowd how I asked him for help in getting a reservation. Who did I think I was, he asked. Made fun of my nose which he said was large. I did not know it was large till that moment. Accused me of being a Jew.

As to Paris, he said she’s too good looking to be your wife. Has to be your girl friend. Asked her if I was taking good care of her. Figured I must be as he pointed out her mink coat on the back of her chair which was partially lying on the floor. Then looked at me and asked if she was good.

So it went for thirty minutes. Not one second’s break. Everyone laughing, including me.

After the show, he came over, shook hands and apologized. Which was not required. We chatted  a few minutes and he was off.

There was no charge for anything.

A fun evening.

Enjoy your day!


First day of a new year in my life. Number 82. God willing, I will be here at this time next year.

My thanks to all who said Happy Birthday in one fashion or another. This blog has made me friends all over the world. It warmed my heart hearing from you.

Day yesterday a quiet one. Started with lunch at Cuban Coffee Queen. Cuban cheese toast and a large cold Cuban coffee. Nothing better!

Did some quiet reading in the afternoon.

Happy birthday dinner at Lisa’s. A great meal. Terrific cake! White with chocolate frosting. The cake light, the frosting the best. Robert picked out the frosting at Publix. His favorite. A Hershey product. Thick tasty chocolate.

Robert and Ally an extra special gift for me on such an occasion. Imagine, an 81 year old grandfather with grandchildren 12 and 11.

Robert and Ally are into birthdays. Especially, Ally.

It was still early when I left Lisa’s. Went over to the Chart Room. Glad I did. Finally ran into David. I have not seen him in weeks. John bartending.

Then home to bed and an early sleep.

The Congressional committee examining FBI Director James Comey today is wrong. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Beware my friends. Whether Republican or Democrat, this type oversight is unAmeriican. Dangerous to all.

The system said no charges warranted. That is the end of it. A disgruntled opposition party should not use their review power. I don’t care how much oversight the committee has. In this instance, a step too far. This crap went on in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Onward! The course of police shooting blacks in the U.S. St. Anthony, Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana this week. Government control of police departments is out of control. The police are becoming misguided vigilantes in blue. The next step if not stopped will be Klu Klux Klanners in blue.

There has been an immigrant problem ongoing the past few days in Minneapolis. In an upscale neighborhood. Million dollar homes. The media relatively quiet re reporting the situation. The biggest Minneapolis newspaper totally silent.

Twenty to 30 Somali immigrants have been harassing the neighborhood. Threatening to kidnap and rape women. One woman was told rape was ok because Sharia law says it is legal. The intruders shouting “Jihad!” Cars driven on sidewalks and lawns. Bottle rockets being shot.

Leaves me speechless. Leaves you speechless also. The unbelievable occurring.

Enjoy your day!





Could not have been a better game! Neck and neck. Cavaliers finally winning 93-89.

Typical of me, I fell asleep with six minutes left in the game. Woke after trophies were given out.

My congratulations to Lynda and Bob Frechette. Home in Cleveland in time for the game.

LeBron James impressed me. Not only for his playing. For his apparent kindness and humility. A great!

Late morning, I visited Donna and Terri at their new abode. Lovely. A mini plantation.

Their new home packed with unopened boxes. Still unpacking. Could take another month. That much stuff.

Cupboards empty again. No time to waste. Could not stop at Publix. Picked up a Submarine and headed home. Where I quickly devoured the sandwich.

I had to get out this week’s KONK Life column. It took six hours. Titled Napoleon 2 Xs. Sort of a lead up to what makes heroes. Not mosquitoes and hemorrhoids.

Caught the last hour of the U.S. Open.

Dinner time. Still no food in the house. Did Chinese delivery. Egg rolls and shrimp egg foo yong.

An accurate observation in this morning’s Citizens’ Voice. Pertaining to the Key West City Commission. “The inmates are running the asylum – we need new leadership.”

Front page this morning’s Key West Citizen. Re the proposed constructions on Rockland Key. Includes a Walmart and 312 units of affordable housing.

A $14.6 million deal. Developers already paid $700,000 in deposits.

The deal was entered into in 2021. Developers want out. They also want to keep the $700,000.

Word on the street is that property values have risen considerably and the developers want a new deal reflecting the property’s increase in value.

Trump wants to profile Muslims. Shades of Hitler. Trump crazy and dangerous.

Enjoy your day!



Many strange things occur in the woods and mangroves in the lower Keys.

Several animals and birds appeared recently at the end of Boca Chica Road. Washed up on the beach. Headless.

Three goats, five adult chickens, six baby chickens, two pigeons.

Suspicion is they are the result of a religious ceremony. Called Santeria.

A touch of Africa in the Florida Keys.

Lunched at Mangrove Mama’s yesterday. A pleasant experience. Sat outside with a cool breeze blowing through. The best, the lobster reuben I ate. Wow!

My first stop last night was Don’s Place. Looking for Don, David, Stan and Clare. We occasionally do the VFW wednesday nights.

Don’s Place was empty at 6:30. Only three persons at the bar. No one I was looking for.

I was alone.

Took a chance. Headed to Tavern ‘n Town. I was shocked! There were seats at the bar and in the restaurant. Not packed at all. Sat at the bar, read the newspapers and enjoyed a piece of salmon.

Various staff members said it was the first slow night since before Christmas. I believe them. I have stayed away for a month because there was no room at the inn.

Two nights ago, I met Scott and Veronica at Outback.  Newly weds. Relatively speaking. Two years.

Scott runs a scooter and bike business. Veronica is at Hard Rock Cafe.

The scooter/bike business is called Conch Scooters. Quite an operation. A delivery business. You telephone and Scott delivers. Where ever you are.

Conch Scooters can be reached at 305-747-8953.

Remember the Wal-Mart that was going g to be constructed on Rockland Key? Now uncertain. It has been reported there is a 50/50 chance of the project proceeding.

A proposal was submitted by the developers. The County countered with some concerns. Like traffic and affordable housing. The County continues to wait for a resolution of their concerns.

A shame if it does not proceed. Keys residents are simple living people. The weather dictating how we live. Shorts, T-shirts, sandals,etc. Nothing fancy. Even at a black tie event, you will find guests in a sport shirt and shorts. The men. Ladies tend to dress for these events.

Wal-Mart perfect for our way of life!

Please excuse how I reference the following. The word is stupid! The Citizens’ Voice this morning contains a comment re traffic congestion. Key West’s streets being at capacity use.

The comment was: “We’re only at capacity if everyone drives alone.” Alone! Key West is not a major highway. It is a small island 1.5 x 4 miles. Car sharing is not the remedy. Not even practical. The solution, I do not know. I would suggest fewer people visiting our island. Any more and Key West is going to sink into the ocean.

Traffic is only the first indication of a problem. More will naturally follow. Like sewage and water.

Everyone is on Trump’s back. Romney tonight. Yesterday, an article in USA TODAY. The article by Matt Krantz. He briefly discussed Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. The Atlantic City casino that sought bankruptcy protection.

Part of Krantz’s comments: “Trump had been chairman of the board in the late 1990s, owned 41% of the company in 1999 and drew a $1 million-a year salary. But investors did not do so well. Investors who bought the stock when the company went public in 1995 lost 87% of their money by 1999.”

My foot getting better. Not there yet. I miss the anti-gtravity treadmill.

Enjoy your day!



I left for Miami at 7 yesterday morning and returned at 10:30 last night. A busy day. The Volkswagen was in need of a 10,000 mile check up.

After dropping the car of at DEEL Volkswagen on Bird Ave., I had four hours to kill. I was directed to Meeker Center, a 10 minute walk. Meeker is a first class lovely three story shopping mall. All the big stores. Like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Tiffany. Lovely restaurants here and there.

Meeker was an interesting experience.

Attire. I was dressed Key West style. Shorts, shirt and crocs. No one wore shorts. Forget crocs. I was a stranger in my own country. Men wore long pants, some jackets. The women all dressed neatly and attractively. The six inch heels blew me out. I discovered flats are also in this year for women.

I looked out of place.

I rarely get off the rock, as we say. As I walked through Nordstrom, it struck me I have purchased new clothes rarely the past 10 years. Not needed if you live in Key West. It is a new tee shirt or two and an occasional pair of shorts.

I was taken by the sport shirts, then shoes and finally sport jackets. The tee shirts started at $98. Sport shirts were in the $150 range. Beautiful shirts! Shoes! Wild! I can not even wear leather shoes in Key West. Yet I spent at least an hour looking at them. From $200 to $600.

I used to visit Tiffany frequently on business trips to New York City. Generally to look, not to buy. I got to do it again yesterday.

I was wearing a three day beard.

People fell all over me trying to take care of me. I suspect they thought I was a rich eccentric.

From the heights of affluence to reality. I stopped at a Walmart on the way home. Bought some tee shirts, sport shirts and shorts. All for much less than one sport shirt at Nordstrom would have cost.

Walmart will soon have a store on nearby Rockland Key. It will sell groceries also. I walked around the food section checking out prices. Walmart had everything. Prices very low. Key West’s Publix and Winn Dixie will not be able to compete. They will have to lower prices to do so.

On the way back to Key West, I stopped at the Islamorada Fish Company for stone crabs. Broke my diet. They were delicious! The best!

Everyone was dressed like me.

Monday’s E-Blast carried an article re the Waterfront brewery remodeling. The property is city owned. It is being remodeled for the two tenants who will be occupying. A brewery and restaurant.

My concern is with over costs/over runs. Everything Key West does construction wise, involves the taxpayers getting hit with additional costs for alleged unexpected problems. The brewery thus far has run into two. An additional cost of $64,000. Not much, but more.

Over costs seem to occur on every type construction Key West is involved in. Sometimes in the millions. I never ran into this situation in other areas. Key Wet calls them unexpected. I call them a series of screw ups by the city in not properly investigating and/or discovering the work initially.

Key West never seems to learn.

My blog talk radio show tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. Join me for a hard hitting half hour. I rip the scabs off!

Tonight’s topics will include more on the California water drought. More than merely running out of water. Who are the real culprits and the unaware pain that occurs.

Also, Florida climate change and Governor Scott, more on police quotas, Greece soon to leave the Eurounion, the euro falling against the dollar meaning cheap European vacations this summer, and a tiny country most have never heard of that is making a ton of money as the new place to wash dirty money.

The show can be found on the internet at

Enjoy your day!