It is already New Year’s Day in New Zealand and Australia. Auckland was the first major city to welcome 2014 in with a fireworks display. Then Sydney. In both places, people were dancing in the streets. Much like Key West and New York City will be this evening.

I have a blog follower in Papua, New Guinea. Since Papua is close to Australia, I assume Papua has likewise welcomed the New Year.

An historic event occurred yesterday/Monday. The first flight from Key West to Havana took place. The first in more than 50 years. It will not be a regular flight. At least not yet. This one took two years to arrange. The rules limited the size of the plane to a ten seater.

Castro screwed the Cubans when he took over. Especially the affluent ones who lost everything and had to escape to the United States. I would hate Castro if I were one of them or one of their families. However, all that took place was three generations ago. The Cubans who came to the United States have as a whole done extremely well for themselves. Especially in South Florida. I believe the time has come to lift the travel and trade ban.

I walked yesterday. Not long. A half hour at Home Depot. It was a bit humid and rainy. Michael was working. Michael was on our bocce team several years ago. A good player. We exchanged New Year greetings. Michael told me about the home he and his wife are in the process of purchasing in Mexico. They close on it next month. Good for you, Michael!

I needed a few things from Publix. Yesterday was the wrong time to shop. Everyone was. The aisles were two way traffic. I only needed bread, Weight Watcher cakes, bananas and yogurt. Took forever!

I now have three books in the works. The newest one concerns the parents of today  who are a forgotten generation when it comes to their adult children. I have to settle into one book and go for it!

It was the Chart Room first last night. I was all alone. The place was packed. However none of my usual acquaintances were to be found. I chatted with Gary who works a rescue boat when a boat breaks down on the high seas.

There was an interesting occurrence. I am not trying to be gross as I share the experience with you. There was a lovely young lady in the Chart Room with exceptionally large breasts. Had to be man made. She was wearing what appeared to be a very strong halter which she occasionally pulled down to exhibit her good fortune to admirers. She was proud of what she had. Rightfully so.

I had a similar experience earlier in the day when I was walking in Home Depot. Another young and beautiful woman. Her breasts huge! Too big! My initial thought after WOW! was how can she balance herself as she walks. Obviously man made, also. Had to be.

I walked over to Hot Tin Roof hoping to run into friends. None to be found. Asked Sheila where everyone was. She found it strange also.

Even without my local friends, the place was packed! A good business night!

Met Matis. He is a new bartender. Recently arrived from Rhode Island. We talked a bit about Block Island.

Traffic  was a pain yesterday. My evening trip into Key west took 45 minutes. Normally, 15. I figured let me get home and avoid the people and traffic later in the evening. Home I went. It still took me 40 minutes to get home. The traffic was a combination of the boulevard construction and the exceptionally large number of tourists.

When I finish this blog, I will be off to Home Depot again. Walking two days in a row will be a major accomplishment.

This afternoon I will either watch the Syracuse game or work on Friday’s TV/internet show. I am not sure who Syracuse is playing. The game is this afternoon. If it is not on local television, I will not be seeing it. I do not wish to handle the traffic to get to John Lukas’ Sports Bar.

Tonight, I am not sure. I have a couple of parties to attend. I might watch Sushi drop in the red shoe at 801. I may stay home. At the moment, home is attractive to me. I am lucky. Every night is New Year’s Eve in Key West.

This day reminds me of a special one I had about fifteen years ago. I thought it might be my father’s last New Year’s eve. I decided he and I should spend it together. We did. Quietly alone in my living room in front of a roaring fire. We spoke of many things. Mostly from the past. His past. Our past together. His wife, my mother. I treasure the evening.

I was wrong that it might be our last together. My father did not pass away till last year. He was 98.

Happy New Year. Chat with you in the morning. The first morning of the New Year.



The big night is tomorrow. New Year’s Eve. It has a flavor all its own in Key West.

The bars and restaurants will be full. Not just on Duval, everywhere. Duval cordoned off in certain spots. People mobbing the streets.

The biggies are Key West’s own rendition of the ball falling on Time’s  Square. Three places for sure. Perhaps one more.

The Bourbon Street Pub drop will be crazy. Probably the best drop on the island. Sushi comes down in a red shoe. People yelling in the street.

Sloppy Joe’s has its own drop. A conch shell from the top of its building. For a couple of hours prior to midnight, a band plays on Sloppy’s roof. People in the street watching, dancing and raising a bit of hell.

Schooner Wharf is an exciting place to be, also. Schooner’s party is known as New Year’s Eve Madness. There will be a schooner docked nearby. A pirate ship for the evening. A wench will be dropped from the mast.

I understand the Ocean Key House Pier will also have a drop of some sort. I believe this year will be the first. Bound to be good.

What I enjoy most New Year’s Eve are the fireworks at the White Street Pier. Magnificent! The whole community comes out to watch. Many families. The fireworks can be seen as far away as Duval Street.

Yesterday was Sunday. A good day. However, things were not as anticipated. I was lazy once again.

I did my blog early morning. Then back to bed to watch Meet the Press. I had completed my research for next week’s KONK Life column the day before. Tax Bicycles? I wrote the article. When finished, I felt tired. Back to bed, this time for a nap.

I planned on going out in the evening. Hogfish. I did not want to battle the tourists downtown. My plans changed when I saw that Lawrence of Arabia was going to be shown on the Turner Classic Channel at 8. A great movie! Four hours long. I fell asleep four times during the movie. Probably viewed less than half of it. Such is life!

Since tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, I will not be airing my blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. I doubt very many would be listening. I suspect I will be out also.

Enjoy your day!


Syracuse, my Syracuse! What a basketball game yesterday! Syracuse beat Villanova 78-62.

Both teams undefeated prior to the game. Syracuse ranked #2 and Villanova #8.

The game was a marvel! Villanova took an early lead. Syracuse was down 25-7. I thought…..oh, shit! Then Syracuse went on a 20-0 run and took the lead 27-25. Syracuse finally won by 18 points.

THIS is a good team! To come back from the pit of defeat and destroy the other team. Syracuse won by making shots from everywhere on the court. Outside, inside and from the foul line area. Syracuse’s defense was excellent once the team got beyond the 25-7 beginning.

It is the start. Teams are not even into league play yet. But after yesterday, the ACC teams better watch out. Syracuse is coming to town!

My yesterday began with a visit to Lisa to use her computer to do the blog. Afterwards, I went over to pick up my now virus free computer from Tim Reynolds. Fear not, the virus was not such that it affected any of your computers.

Did the Chart Room last night. JJ bartending. A gentleman.

Ted was there. I first met him two years ago. He is from upstate New York. Madison County to be exact. A neighbor of Oneida County  from whence I came.

Ted is a lawyer. He is Clerk to Judge DeStefano. The court sits in Wampsville. Many the case I tried there. The court room was unique. Circular. The judges excellent. My contemporaries have long since retired.

Ted comes down for about a week every year. We talked of the judges, past and present, the court room. Syracuse basketball and football, my book The World Upside down, and whatever.

Sean and Katherine came in. Sean joined Ted and I.

While at the Chart Room, four tourists came in looking for anything about Mel Fischer. The bar blew them out.

I had a craving for wings. Kelley’s wings. I walked over by way of Duval. Key West was packed. Every bar, every restaurant I went by was jammed full of people. Some standing waiting to be seated. Kelley’s was the same way. I have never seen so many people at Kelley’s. I had to sit at the inside bar.

On the way back to get my car, I stopped at Grunts. Packed inside and out!

The cash registers were ringing big time last night. Come January 2, they will be silent for about three weeks. That is the way it goes.

I am not going to do my blog talk radio show Tuesday evening at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. It is New Years Eve. I doubt anyone would be listening. I may be out and about, also.

Enjoy your Sunday!


TAX BICYCLES? is the title of this week’s KONK Life column. An interesting subject. Taxes have been imposed in some communities already. The article will be especially interesting to Key West readers since Key West is a bicycling town.

The column is researched. I will write it later this afternoon and this evening.

My computer is fixed, but not in my hands. I will be picking it up after I finish this blog. I am presently at Lisa’s.

My yesterday started with the TV/internet show The Key West Lou Legal Hour. A multitude of sins were covered. The topic that seems to have garnered the most interest was the story of the Dallas VA Hospital that would not let local fourth graders deliver hand made Christmas cards to patients. The administrator said no Christmas cards containing Merry Christmas or God Bless You were permitted.

The administrator relied on a VA Handbook that established the rule. Some idiot in Washington apparently came up with what might be perceived as a political correctness item. I do not blame the administrator. I blame whoever in Washington came up with the idea. I wonder what the impact was on the fourth graders, what they thought, how the rejection was explained to them.

Then to Lisa’s to do yesterday’s blog.

I followed the blog up with an hour well spent at the Plantation Coffee House. Got to visit with Diane, enjoy a bagel, and read the morning newspapers.

I went to Don’s Place just before 6 last night to watch the Syracuse/Minnesota bowl game. Don advised that a group was going to Benihana at 8 for dinner. Would I join them? Of course.

I got to watch the first half of the football game. Syracuse was winning 7-0. I never got to watch the game further. While I was eating, someone passed by mentioning that Syracuse was down 3 points with 3 minutes to go.

I checked the game result  when I returned home. Syracuse won 21-17. Locked the win in with 1.5 minutes to go.

More Syracuse this afternoon. Syracuse/Villanova basketball at 2 on CBS. Should be a great game. Both teams undefeated. Syracuse ranked #2 and Villanova #8 nationally.

Dinner at Benihana was a lot of fun. There were 8 of us. Don, David, Keith, Jennifer, Clara, Hershel, Erika,and me. Stan was working.

Russ was at Don’s Place. I had not seen him in many months. He is now chef at Blue Heaven. We spoke of Big East basketball. We both agreed it was a shame Syracuse had left the league. Russ is a St. John’s fan.

A crowd at Don’s. Besides those already mentioned, Toni, Michael, Jeff, and Grant.

I go now to Tim Reynold’s to get my computer.

Enjoy your day



Yesterday was a quiet one. At least for me.

I went to the opticians to see if my glasses were ready. They were not.

Then to Lisa’s to do yesterday’s blog. I am back at Lisa’s today doing the blog, also. My computer not repaired/ready yet.

I have graduated. Jake now comes upstairs where the computer is and lays next to my feet while I work.

Most of the afternoon into early evening was spent finalizing today’s TV/internet show. News has been sparse this week. It has to be because of the holiday. I had to dig for material. It was 7 before I finished.

I had intended to go out last night. It was late. I had no desire to shower again and drive back into town. Instead, I made a sandwich which I downed with a glass of gin. Then to bed.

If you have not purchased my book The World Upside Down, you may do so on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Enjoy your day!


A late morning brunch at Lisa’s Christmas day. The grandkids all excited. Ran outside to greet me when I arrived exclaiming…..Santa brought us new bicycles for Christmas!

That is what it is all about.

Brunch was everything! And then more!

After brunch, I remained at Lisa’s to do yesterday’s blog. My computer kaput again. The old computer at home is only good for research and reading. I cannot type on it.

I returned home early afternoon. My Christmas day was done.

I am writing/researching two books at the same time. One of them includes Lyons, France during World War II. I was into Lyons yesterday big time. The underground blowing up roads and bridges, killing specific German officers, identifying collaborators, getting into Gestapo maintained prisons to save people, and the torture and execution of underground members.

Christmas greetings were received yesterday from all over the world. Included in the group were Rita from Calitzdorp, South Africa, Anna, Antonio and Miriam from Novara, Italy, Flora from Albania, and Jenna from Indiana. Several were received from various parts of Greece.

The world keeps getting smaller.

Christmas has changed over the years. This Christmas was different from the Christmas of my youth. As many have been over the years. Square One’s Carmelo and I had this discussion last week. Nothing is the same. The only constant seems to be change. With everything.

I asked Novara’s  Anna what Northern Italians eat on Christmas day. Not a turkey. Beef is a rarity. The traditional choice is a capon.  The denutted/castrated male chicken. Big breasted, much meat. Tender and juicy.

Anna told me she boils the capon. What a waste, I thought. Why not stuff it and shove it in the oven? Not the custom, I was told. The capon is boiled and then served covered with milk. She claims it tastes good!

My grandmother would prepare two capons on the holidays. They were cheap to buy. Meat never saw any table I was at back then. I assume because of cost.

There were no Publixs or Winn-Dixies back in the late 1930s and through the 1940s. Chickens were purchased at a chicken store. There were three within a four block radius of where we lived. Only chickens sold. The customer picked out the chicken desired. All chickens were live. A person working the store would take the chicken behind the counter and start the process. It began with chopping the poor chicken’s head off.

I have no idea where a person in the United States would buy a capon these days.

Tomorrow is my TV/internet show. The Key West Lou Legal Hour. In addition to the items forth yesterday, I am going to talk about the VA hospital that refuses to accept Christmas cards with the word Christmas anywhere thereon. No Merry Christmas at that VA hospital! Stupid political correctness. A step too far. Not representative of the United States I grew up in.

Another issue involves genetically modified fruits and vegetables. The big corporations who own the mega farms are pursuing legislation permitting their label on the foodstuffs to read “Natural.” If successful, the U.S. will be the only country in the world to so do. All other countries label genetically modified foods as being genetically modified.

The show is at 10 in the morning my time. It can be viewed on television from Key West through Boca Raton on Comcast Channel 87 and U-Verse Channel 19. The show is also available worldwide via the internet. www.weyw19.com.

Enjoy your day!


It is all for the children! But I still get a bang out of Christmas. Especially Christmas eve.

I was at daughter Lisa’ s home. Santa Claus came before dinner. Robert and Ally were excited. I thought they might not believe, were playing us along, etc. However from the look in their eyes, there was no question they believed!

Santa always makes sure to tell the grandkids that Poppa is his friend. I have been doing the Santa thing for years. First for my own children, then for my grandchildren who are adults now, and finally for Robert and Ally.

God is good!

The meal Lisa prepared was excellent. Four fishes. One more than last year. At some point, we will be up to seven. The fish: shrimp, coconut shrimp, clams, and lobster tails. Christmas cookies for dessert. Lisa and Ally baked them. Delicious!

Tim Reynolds invited me to a party he was having last night. I looked forward to joining him. However by the time I left Lisa’s, I had had too much food and too much wine. The car took me home. My apologies to Tim and Debbie.

I have to work today on my friday TV/internet show. The Key West Lou Legal Hour.

Topics I am playing with include a New Jersey transgender bill, the courts finally permitting a suit against Saudi Arabia for 9/11, France coming up with the first artificial heart implanted that works, where Congressmen get their money from, NSA and RSA back door to security devices we buy for our computers, police now having the right to search your cellphone if you are stopped for a minor traffic violation, and more.

Enjoy your Christmas Day!


Christmas is not as you would think in Italy. It is not the big deal it is in the United States. Surprisingly so.

Italy is the most conservative European nation when it comes to Christmas. Again, surprisingly so.

It is only in recent years that Santa Claus has entered upon the scene. Italy’s Santa is not quite the same as ours. He wears a red hat and jacket. Not fat. Skinny. Delivers gifts on January 5, the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany.

An interesting item is that Italy’s Santa Claus does not speak Italian. Makes sense. He is from the North Pole and the Italian language would be strange to him.

Santa’s name is not Santa Claus. It is Babbo Natale. Means Father Christmas.

The real Santa Claus from day one in Italy is Befana. She is uniquely Italian. Extremely popular. The children all believe in her.

Befana looks and acts like a witch, though she is not one. She is a scraggly old lady with a pointed black hat and rides a broom. No sleigh and reindeer for her.

Here again December 25 plays no part. Befana visits the children on January 5, the day before the Feast of the Epiphany. She brings candy and gifts. Leaves them in large stockings.

If a child has been bad, she will leave coal. A tradition no longer discussed in the United states. I recall my parents always warning me to be good or Santa would bring me coal. I doubt very many U.S. children today know what coal is. I know. We used to heat the house with it. I was the one who had to shovel the coal into the furnace two times a day.

Lest I forget, Befana wears a black shawl. She is covered with soot. The reason being of course that she comes down the chimney.

Christmas eve is quiet. Families do get together to eat. Southern Iitalians eat the seven fishes. Northern Italians do not. In fact, I was speaking with Anna in  Novara yesterday. She did not know that seven fishes are considered an Italian tradition in the United States. My southern Italian family always followed it. The best meal of the year!

Anna has her children over for dinner tonight. She decided to serve Maine lobsters. A first. She bought them at a nearby fish market.  They had been flown in from Canada. The store told her to take them home and keep them in water and salt. She purchased the lobsters on 12/22 to be cooked and eaten on 12/24.

Anna put the lobsters in water and salt in her bathtub. They all died.  I assume from soap residue. She was crying. She  did however refrigerate the remains and intended to cook them Christmas eve. It took me a while to make her understand that once dead, a lobster is useless for eating purposes. Unless you want to get sick.

I had dinner with Bebe last night at the Hot Tin Roof. A friend. She has worked 26 years at the Hyatt. She is the administrative assistant to the general manager. Managers come and go, Bebe remains.

Sloan was at the Hot Tin Roof for a party. She sat with us a while. First time I have ever seen Sloan dressed dressed. She looked fantastic!

Banks are whores. They have gotten away with murder in recent years. At the same time making a ton of money.

Cheap is cheap. I do business with two banks. I wanted those red Xmas envelopes they give out free to people like me who are making money gifts to persons on Christmas. Neither bank had them. Both no longer provide them. Would you believe? Cheap!

There will be no blog radio show this evening. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou will not air. It is Christmas eve. I am selfish, also. I will be with Lisa and family at the time still eating.

Enjoy your day! Enjoy your evening!


I love Christmas eve!

Santa Claus will be visiting Robert and Ally around dinner time. I suspect this is the last year they still believe. They are on the cusp. Lisa’s dinner will be fantastic. Christmas music in the background.  The evening will be a God is in His Heaven, all is right with the world one. At least at Lisa’s house tomorrow night.

Yesterday morning I laid around in bed watching the news talk shows.

To Don’s Place at one. Chatted with Don and Larry. Hellos exchanged with David and Keith. Stayed a couple of hours watching pro football.

Next was a visit to Lisa’s to see the grandkids. They are patiently waiting for tomorrow night. No question Jake is now my friend. I was reading the Sunday papers when he jumped on the couch and snuggled up to me. He soon was sleeping.

Did a little bit of last minute Christmas shopping.

Spent the evening at home trying to figure out Obamacare. I waited till the last minute. Confusing! Frustrating would be the better word. I still do not have it completed.

Tomorrow night normally would be my blog talk radio show at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. No show tomorrow night. Christmas eve is for family and not dealing with world problems.

Enjoy your day!

Christmas….A Legal Holiday


Christmas….A Legal Holiday


On this wonderful Christmas Day 2010, most of us are sitting back happy with ourselves. In a joyous festive mood. Thankful for family and friends. Pleased by gifts and food.

And we might believe that Christmas in the United States has always been such. That Christmas as we know it always existed.

Shockingly, it did not!

Let’s go back to the Puritans. Those hearty immigrants from England to the shores of Massachusetts. Those who gave us Thanksgiving.

Christmas they did not give to us. In fact, they took Christmas away from us. The earliest Scrooges of record!

From 1659 to 1681, Christmas was outlawed in Boston. By the Puritans. They believed that Christmas was not consistent with their Puritan ideas and religious reforms. So one of their acts was to abolish Christmas!

Christmas remained a no-no through the American Revolution. The English influence in the colonies prevailed. Christmas could not regain its foothold.

A few years after the Revolution, the colonists, rid of the English influence, started celebrating Christmas. But it was not Christmas as we know it.

The early 1800s found Christmas being celebrated in a bit of a rowdy fashion. Much like Mardi Gras and Fantasy Fest.

Then came a couple of books which influenced the situation.

The first was by Washington Irving. In 1809, he wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon. It portrayed Christmas as a peaceful loving holiday. Many attribute Irving’s novel as setting the mood for present day Christmas.

Irving actually created with words Christmas Day as we know and celebrate it. He mentally conceived his concept of Christmas and wrote it on paper. Christmas to that point had not been as he portrayed it.

About the same time, there was another writing. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This, too, captured the American imagination.

During the 1830s, several southern states legalized December 25 Christmas Day as a legal holiday. The first was Alabama in 1836.

The South continued to favor and celebrate Christmas up to the time of the Civil War. Whereas the North basically paid little attention to the day. Christmas had become a Southern thing.

Now comes the Civil War. Lincoln wanted to demoralize the Confederate troops. He wanted to show that the South’s Santa Claus was on the side of the North. He authorized a famous artist late in 1862 to do a drawing of Santa Claus watching over Union troops. The picture was the front cover on January 3, 1863 of a prominent national magazine. It was sort of God is on our side thing. Some believe it achieved Lincoln’s desired effect.

President Ulysses S. Grant is given credit for making Christmas a national holiday. I question the accuracy of the representation. In 1870 Grant signed a bill into law regarding Christmas Day. The new law read that Christmas “…shall be a holiday within the District of Columbia.”

The District of Columbia is not the whole of the United States. However, Grant is usually given credit for making Christmas a national holiday by that act.

The last state to legalize Christmas as a legal holiday was Oklahoma in 1907.

I suspect that it was the combination of Grant’s signing regarding the District of Columbia and all of the states legalizing the holiday that finally made Christmas Day a national holiday.

Christmas Day received a further boost by the 1897 editorial in the Sun of New York. We all know it. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

Christmas was practiced and recognized as a holiday through World War II. For whatever reason, it received its most gigantic step forward recognition and celebration wise following World War II. Everyone got into the act after the war! Maybe because people were happy and grateful to have won.

Such is the story of the legalization of Christmas Day.