MY MOTHER…..A WISE WOMAN

Big day today! Mother’s Day!

The person who knows us best.

My mother was unique. Then, I assume all mothers are.

She was born in Italy. The last of eight children. The first girl. The previous seven boys. Her parents felt fortunate they finally had a daughter. They named her Fortunata, Italian for Fortune.

She came to the U.S. at an early age. Never made it beyond the third grade. At 9, she was working 16 hours a day in a shoe factory in New York.

Move swiftly ahead.

I had become a lawyer. A successful one. On my drive home after work, I would stop to see my mother. She was always ready for me. A bottle of Beefeaters and a glass filled with ice on the kitchen table.

We would sit and talk. About nothing and everything. My day. The kids, her grandchildren. My father. Whatever moved us at the moment.

She could tell when I had something on my mind. What is the problem, she would ask. I would share and this woman with only a third grade education generally in her own way had a solution.

She has been gone more than 30 years. Missed! A day has not gone by when I have not thought of her.

On the wall opposite my desk, her painting hangs. She is in my face several times a day. I talk to her frequently.

I wish she could talk back.

Spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column which publishes wednesday. Black Caesar…..Keys Pirate. Interesting. Big pirate back when. One of the biggest. His story.

Finally got out of the house last night. Catherine took pity and picked me up. We dined at the bar at Berlin’s.

Bria Ansara not singing. Home sick. Laryngitis.

Sloan’s daughter hosting. Always a warm greeting.

Catherine told me about a site I should take a look at. I did this morning. I am going to share it with you. Absolutely terrific! https://youtu.be/580dYcYneA.

The man Randy Rainbow. A humorous pundit.

Remember Sound of Music? How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria……He sang it with North Korea in place of Maria. While dressed as a nun.

Pouring this morning. As it did yesterday morning. Then, the rest of the day beautiful. Hopefully, it will be the same today.

Donna and Terri have promised to come get me and take me to Hot Dog Church later this afternoon.

I am a lucky man. Surrounded by loving women who want to care for me. Lesbians included.

I am a Manhattan College grad. As is John Reinke. John writes a weekly blog re Manhattan graduates. Titled Jasper Jottings. A slew of information.

This morning’s blog mentioned Japanese bus drivers. They are on strike. Striking differently, however. They have kept driving. The difference, they refuse to take fares.

There is an eloquence associated with great men. I read somewhere that Lincoln would not have been a great President without the Civil War and slavery. Churchill without World War II. Roosevelt without the Great Depression and World War II.

Whatever the reason, permit me to share examples of eloquence.

The bombs were falling all over Europe. Churchill elected Prime Minister. He said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat…..Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt upon taking office and facing the Great Depression: The “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” His address to Congress asking for a declaration of war following the bombing of Pear Harbor: December 7, “a day which will live in infamy.”

Psychics everywhere. Key West included. Not all for real. Some dishonest.

New York’s Psychic Zoe, aka Ann Thompson, is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant. Arrested. Charged with fortune telling fraud.

Took 2 victims/clients for $800,000. One for $740,000, the other $72,000. Each began with a $5 charge. The victims were plied with things like never being able to love again if the victim did not continue with the clairvoyant. Clearly chicanery. Clearly a fraud.

I feel sad for the gullible who satisfied an emotional need by succumbing to the lies in this instance of a fortune teller.

A psychic worth $800,000 should have been able to see her investigation and arrest coming and avoided it. What happened?

I am amused by North Korea making all these concessions prior to the actual meting between the two leaders. The most recent is North Korea has invited foreign journalists (including U.S.) to be in North Korea May 23-25 when North Korea dismantles its nuclear test site.

Query: What about the nuclear warheads, etc. which North Korea already has? I doubt Jung-Un will destroy them. In fact, I guarantee he will not.

Then what is Trump going to say? He has told us constantly that he is firm  in the total denuclerization of North Korea. Which includes nuclear weapons North Korea already has.

Hurricane season around the corner. Begins June 1. At a time  we are not yet finished with recovery work from Irma. Lets hope this will be a hurricane free season.

If you have not read Irma and Me, please do. It will provide the opportunity to understand what happens prior to, during and following a hurricane. My book combines humor and tragedy. Available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

POST OFFICE LONG LINES…..RETIREES NOT REPLACED

Reporting my local experiences have been limited this week. I have not related my Key West nocturnal activities. I have not left the house since sunday.

The reason is my car is waiting for a part from Miami.

I live outside Key West so walking is not even a consideration.

It has not been bad. Caught up on some research I have been meaning to do. Read a bit. Watched a ton of old movies on TV.

Now, I have had it. Must get out this evening. Someone will have to pick me up. I also need groceries. Enough left in the refrigerator to prepare one last meal.

You would think laying around would cause me to have gained weight. Not so. Lost 2 more pounds. Total now 38 pounds!

I feel like Little Jack Horner…..eating his pumpkin pie…..he stuck in his thumb, pulled out a plum, and said what a good boy am I!

In April, I wrote a column for KONK Life titled Congress To Blame For Post Office Debt. The reason obvious.

The Post Office was solvent. Money in the bank.  For real. Congress wanted to use the sitting money. Passed a law requiring the Post Office to pre-pay in 10 years long term pension and health care liabilities. Covering 75 years.

The money would sit in a different account till needed. Congress could dip into it. And as with Social Security, never pay it back.

The 10 years has passed. The Post Office could not meet the pre-pay. Onerous. Owes $49 billion to it.

Congress was unhappy. On paper looks like the Post Officenow in debt. Not really, if not compelled to make the pre-payments.

What other business pre-pays pensions, etc. 75 years into the future?

Congress has been mini-managing the Post Office under the guise that obviously the Post Office cannot mange itself. Congress passed another law. As postal employees retire, they would not be replaced. A money saving gambit.

Why do we stand in line forever at the Post Office? It is not the postal workers fault. They are not slow. The problem is there are not enough of them because of Congress’ law re replacing retirees.

The Chinese are smart people. A relatively recent example are the hog hotels being constructed. Pig hotels, another name.

America’s experience is with Perdue and other chicken farms. Place the chicken/hog in tight quarters and grow them.

China presently has 2 seven story buildings to grow hogs. Breed and raise them. One thousand hogs per floor.

The buildings are sow breeding operations more than anything else. Eighty percent of the pigs are adult female swine. Sows. Twenty percent are gilts. Young sows to replace the sows when they get pregnant.

Gestation is 114 days.

Disease the danger. Protected against in every possible way.

No one talks about the male pigs who provide the seed. They must be exhausted! It takes the male 20 minutes to ejaculate. I do not know how many times a day the male is called upon to perform. Nor do I know the average number of times a sow or gilt must engage in sex to become pregnant.

A good sized liter is 16 piglets.

Four new hog hotels are in the planning stage. One will be 13 stories.

Family Separation Policy. Love these fancy governmental terms. The three words relate to the Trump/Sessions plan to separate children from parents in situations where families cross our southern border.

Both men are sick! How long before Congress begins exercising its Constitutional powers? Especially the Republicans. Stand up and be men. Legislators not afraid to oppose Trump.

I was against the Iraqi War before it even began. Made no sense. History agrees.

Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of State at the time. I thought he was a horse’s ass. He thought he was smart. There was a question whether the U.S. had sufficient troops, etc. to go to war. Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Contrast this with how Hitler handled things.

In May 1940, Germany invaded Holland and Belgium. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned. Winston Churchill replaced him.

Holland and Belgium were not military giants at the time. Never the less, Hitler hit them with everything. More than was needed for a German victory. One hundred thirty six ground divisions, 2,500 aircraft, and 16,000 airborne troops.

A country prepares for war. If unexpectedly attacked as the U.S. was at Pearl Harbor, then you begin the fight with what you have.

Enjoy your day!

 

SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL

Key West is in the middle of this year’s Songwriters Festival. The event began May 9 and ends May 13. Five days and nights of live music. The faces, voices and stories behind the songs.

Two hundred plus performers and fifty plus shows. To be seen and heard on parts of Duval and its side streets and in many bars and restaurants along the way.

Key West will be over run with music lovers from all over the world.

A post Irma report has just come out re tourism revenue. In the eight months since Irma, tourist revenue is down 11-24 percent depending on the month.

The ad agency representing Key West has recommended that more money be spent in advertising to attract the number of tourists lost.

I disagree. Key West is over touristed. The island is sinking beneath the added weight of too many visitors. Traffic is heavy, bicyclists a danger, pedestrians crossing streets without looking, etc.

Greed is killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Key West cannot continue to receive more and more visitors each year. There is a breaking point. We are reaching it.

Some things cannot be questioned. One, man needs water to survive.

As far back as Aristotle, water was a concern. Being the genius he was, Aristotle shared his thoughts and solutions for his time: “Salt water, when it turns into vapour, becomes sweet and the vapour does not form salt water again when it condenses.”

Aristotle also noticed that a fine wax vessel would hold potable water after being submerged long enough in seawater, having acted as a membrane to filter the salt.

Ocean going ships over the centuries had a desperate need for fresh water. Ways to desalinate were improved for vessels.

Thomas Jefferson came up with a better method to desalinate on ships. Decals with his instructions were prepared and placed on the back of all shipping permits.

Desalinization improved following World War II. So good that optimization became the goal.

Which brings me to the why I have spent this time on desalinization.

The Florida Keys need water. Especially, Key West. We pipe our water in from the mainland 150 miles away. Scarcity periodically a problem.

On this day in 1967, a $3.3 million desalting plant was constructed to assist Key West and its immediate surroundings. The new plant capable of producing 2.62 million gallons of fresh water a day.

The plant ended a critical water shortage at the time.

Trump and his staff show little respect for John McCain. McCain has brain cancer and is reaching the end of his days.

McCain qualifies as a torture expert.

One day after he announced opposition to Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel, a White House staff meeting was being held. Trump was not present.

It is claimed that during the meeting, Special Assistant Kelly Sadler while discussing the torture issue and McCain’s position said, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

Her comment has been perceived as mocking McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis. Sadler says she meant it as a joke. However it was not received as such. It has been reported there was a dead silence in the room following the statement having been made.

Sadler apologized to one of McCain’s daughters following the incident.

A Pandora’s box has been opened. The $4.4 million Michael Cohen received following Trump’s election. The question arises: Where did the money go after leaving Cohen’s hands? Any of it to the President?

I mentioned yesterday how the new US ambassador to Germany on tuesday advised the Germans they should stop doing business with Iran. The Germans laughed at him.

Other European nations are reacting. France’s Finance Minster said yesterday that Europe is not a US vassal, not the world’s economic policeman.

I have followed Venezuela more than 5 years. Ever since Nicolas Maduro became President. Maduro is doing a lousy job. I cannot understand why the people have not revolted.

Starvation exists. Everyday. Little relief. The pets were eaten three years ago. Babies fed every other day with some sort of powder concoction. On it goes.

Several months ago, Maduro said something nasty about Trump. I do not recall what. The next day Trump said the US was considering invading Venezuela to relieve the poverty that had befallen its people.

On monday, it was announced that the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuela. On 3 Venezuelans personally and 20 Venezuelan companies. The justification claimed was narcotics trading tied to Maduro.

Almost simultaneously, Pence appeared before the Organization of American States and told the audience that there was a need to take greater steps to isolate Maduro. The drug issue the justification again.

Something wrong here. How do you sanction a nation whose people are already starving? Who ate family pets? Whose babies get fed every second day?

The narcotics claim is disturbing. Venezuela is the other end of the Earth from the US. The real drug problem affecting the US is Afghanistan. Afghanistan produces 95 percent of the world’s heroin. Most of it ends up on our streets. Our people dying big time daily from its effects.

The US has been fighting a war in Afghanistan for 17 years. In that time, the poppy fields have grown, heroin exports increased dramatically. Little done by the US to stop it.

Something stinks and has stunk in Afghanistan re drugs since the US became involved with the country.

Enjoy your day!

HULA HOOP / CONCH SHELL BLOWING

A great Sunday out there! Sun shinning, nary a cloud. Wind unusually strong. Has been for a few days. Blowing down from the north. Makes the 80 degree temperature not feel warm. Comfortable.

Hula hoops hit the U.S. big time in 1963. Appeared in the market place for the first time this date in 1963.

A round plastic hoop. Hip swiveling and gyrating.

Within 4 months, 25 million had been sold.

My older children got into it. Tried to teach Dad. No way. I could not do it.

About five years ago, there was a hula hoop revival. Ally was six years old. She was an expert. could even do it around her neck.

She tried to teach Poppa. Again, I was a failure.

Sue Cassell worked at Don’s Place at the time of the revival. A young lady. Twentyish. A pro with the hula hoop. Amazing. Blinking lights wrapped around the hoop.

I took Ally to watch Sue.

The hula hoop had a part in Key West’s Annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest yesterday. Christie King of Big Pine hula hooped while blowing a large conch shell.

My intent was to watch Syracuse/Georgia Tech yesterday afternoon at Jack Flats with Dee. Followed by dinner some where.

Dee begged off. Experiencing dizzy spells. I decided to stay home and watch. Then skip out to dinner somewhere.

A mistake.

The game was not televised in Florida.

In any event, Syracuse won. Big! 90-61. Should help Syracuse get an invitation to the big tournament.

After the game, Dee telephoned. Dizziness gone. Let’s go to dinner.

We dined at Hot Tin Roof. The place packed. As are the streets of Key West. It is season!

Aristotle said …..Friendship is the chiefest good.

Dee and I have been friends for a quarter century. We see each other frequently for a while. Then not see each other for several years.

The Key West City Commission continues its perverted ways. They are eliminating parking spaces in residential areas to create bicycle lanes.

We need parking! The parking situation is desperate!

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman.

On this date in 1948, Truman left Key West to return to Washington. Exactly one year later in 1949, he returned to Key West for a vacation.

William Hackley had the dentist Dr. Walton back at his home this day in 1856. Dr. Walton pulled two teeth from Hatty and six from Charlotte.

Don’t know if Hatty and Charlotte children or help. Sounds rough. Six teeth at one time.

There was a time when dentistry was a trade and not a profession. A side line practiced by barbers and blacksmiths. I suspect a profession by Hackley’s time as the title Doctor used.

By 1946, World War II was over. It had become evident that the Soviet Union was no longer a friend. Of the United States and other Allies who fought together to defeat Germany.

Winston Churchill on this date in 1946 spoke at Missouri’s Westminster College. President Truman on the stage.

Churchill’s eloquent words were delivered. Words never to be forgotten. Even to today. “An iron curtain has descended across the continent.” He described it as a Cold War.

Stalin responded from Moscow that the speech was “war mongering.”

Sound familiar?

Putin suggests the same when actions are taken by other nations which he considers not in the best interests of Russia.

We are in a new Cold War.

Sadness takes many forms. As does pain and suffering.

A picture appears on page 9A of this morning’s Key West Citizen. A picture of a 9 month old Somalian baby. Ali Hassan. Malnourished. Starving. Body bones clearly defined. Arms strange. Eyes bright.

Starvation has been an ongoing problem in Somalia. Now, a drought also. The article set forth that 110 had died in a 48 hour period ending yesterday.

Enjoy your Sunday! I suspect a pause at this point before you do. The thought of Ali and Somalian starving touching. Leaves one with an empty feeling.

CHICKENS DYING?

Someone commented in this morning’s Citizens’ Voice that the chickens are dying all over the island. The person asked why?

I have not noticed fewer chickens. Perhaps I have not paid attention. If someone agrees with the comment that the chickens are dying, please write and share what you know.

The Tropic Cinema is one of Key West’s gems. In front of the theater standing on the sidewalk is a life size statue of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt blowing upwards. A scene from a movie Marilyn made where she was standing over a subway grid.

The significance of the comment is that scene was filmed this day in 1954.

The Mosquito Control Board met last night. Voted not to proceed with the $4.5 million new building. Instead, voted to construct certain portions so the total cost would be less.

A garage and storage facility would be built. Together with the purchase of three work trailers. Total cost, $2, 995,000.

Sounds like a sales number.

Still don’t know if the number flies. Tax dollars pay for it all. Can the bucks be cut even further? As many people, I no longer have faith in the Board’s judgment.

I learn as I go along. Sometimes late.

There is a new diving experience in Key West. SNUBA. Not snorkeling, not scuba diving. Something between the two.

For those 8-80. Started 20 years ago in Hawaii. Described as an underwater guided tour. Dive certification not required. Ability to swim is. Instruction given before the dive.

My column in KONK Life is on the stands today. A Peek At The Truth.

Don’s Place first last night. No one, but Keith. Don, David, Larry, Boomer and others are in Miami on a golf trip. They will be back today. Eighteen holes the first day, 36 each of the next two days.

Tiring golf! Glad I set the game aside several years ago. We used to play hard, drink hard and stay up most of the night. I got too old for the trips. Could not handle all the fun.

Dinner at the outside bar at La Te Da with Keith. Tonto bartending.

Wednesday is prime rib night at La Te Da. George and Dillon had recommended it to me last week. I went specifically for the prime rib. We were there at 7. No prime rib. A popular wednesday special. Gone by 5.

Enjoyed wings instead.

The Battle of Britain effectively ended this date in 1940. The RAF shot down 56 German planes that day in two separate dogfights.

The next day, Hitler ended daytime air attacks on Britain. The move also postponed indefinitely Hitler’s invasion.

Winston Churchill said re Britain’s RAF pilots:  “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Bocce tonight. The last two weeks have been rained out. I hope to stop by and watch for a while.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

WINSTON CHURCHILL

Being home bound for a few days gave me time to catch up on my reading. Operation Sea Lion had been started several weeks ago. Then deserted for a time because of the Italian book. It was back to Operation  Sea Lion which is an inside story of Great Britain during the early days of World War II.

Churchill obviously a major character.

Churchill’s speaking ability was discussed. I have always considered him to be  one of history’s great orators. Exciting. The revelation was that his great speeches were not off the cuff. Churchill was not a natural speaker. He spent considerable time writing each oration before its presentation. His approach was meticulous. He sought particular words that best conveyed his message. Resulting in the quality the world came to know.

One of Churchill’s most memorable speeches was given in 1940 before the House of Commons. Sentences crafted before hand word by word. “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and on the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”

My health is better. Back still hurts, but less and less each day. Face still looks like I got beat up.

I went out last night. It was like getting out of jail! St. Paul’s Church and Publix.

The Friends of the Key West Library’s lecture series continued last night. Edward Hower was the speaker. An author of some note. I did not enjoy his presentation. He read the whole thing. I had difficulty keeping awake. The question and answer period which followed was better.

Then a hurried stop at Publix. I was anxious to get home for the Syracuse game. Publix is changing product locations. For example, fresh fruits hit you almost upon entering. My only problem concerned Entenmann’s. No longer at the end of an aisle near the milk. I could not find it. I asked a stock person where it might be. He did not know what I was talking about. I will find Entenmann’s next time when I have more time.

The Syracuse game was a disaster. Lost to Virginia 59-47. As it should have been. Virginia ranked #2 nationally. Only one game left. Then the season is over. It is impossible at this stage for Syracuse to get 20 wins. Only the third time in Boeheim’s illustrious career this has happened.

My blog talk radio show tonight. I spent much of yesterday in preparation. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou airs at 9. A quick half hour of current events and my thoughts. Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Topics include Homeland Security and Netanyahu, new shocking bank rules on the way, and life at hard labor without parole for being involved in a $20 pot purchase.

Almost forgot. I shaved! A close call. A close shave. I was seriously tempted to go for the beard.

Enjoy your day!