Morning Stew time again!

Yesterday was National Vietnam Veterans Day. Opted to write about my neighbor Homero “John” Lopez. Now 83, came to the U.S. early in life as an immigrant. Joined the Marines. Fought in Vietnam. Rose to the rank of Major.

Seemed appropriate to skip my usual blog format and talk about John on Vietnam Veterans Day.

Which means I have a jumble of notes for today’s blog. I am going to go through them in the order they appear in my notes. Information generally not related.

The Regal theater reopened this past week. Finally! It took a beating during Irma. Roof off, insides floating around, etc. Took a long time to repair.

Can’t wait to go!

The Key West Citizen daily carries page excerpts from William Hackley’s diary in its History Section. Thursday took readers back to 1831. Hackley played piquet with the Judge.

Piquet? Never heard of it.

Did a little digging. Piquet was a 16th century trick taking card game. Very popular. Two players, 32 cards. A piquet deck was 7 to Ace.

Piquet’s popularity dropped off with World War I. Replaced by gin rummy, a game most of us do know.

I wrote about Batman a couple of the days ago. It was his 80th birthday. He first appeared in a comic book in 1939.

Comic books cost a dime back then. I remember. I purchased a lot of them. My generation was first educated by comic books.

An auction of one of the first Batman comic books was sold in 2010. In pristine condition. Sold for $1,075,500.

Friday night found me at the Chart Room.

As I walked in, a lovely lady came up to me. Holding Irma and Me in hand. Her name, Debbie. With husband, Eric. From Rochester, N.Y.

We had met last year at the Chart Room. Debbie purchased Irma and Me and carried it to Key West to have me sign it.

Chatted a while with them. They have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren.

They are here for a week. Hope to run into them again. Good people.

Met Sandi. Visiting Key West for a week. From Nova Scotia. First time in Key West.

Sandi is here with a girl friend. The girl friend likes Key West’s live theater and was at a show. Sandi prefers the bars and so we met in the Chart Room.

Sandi has an interesting background. A career in the military. Followed by working for the Halifax Police Department afterwards in an administrative position.

I was scheduled to have dinner with Ted. Turns out he knew Sandi. They had met the evening before at Smilin’ Tuna.

Ted is a retired Court Clerk from Madison County, New York. Spent his entire legal career as a Court Clerk. An important job. As I have written before, clerks are the brains behind the judges.

Ted now lives in Cazenovia. A beautiful hamlet on Lake Cazenovia, Also in Madison County.

Ted and I had dinner at Hot Tin Roof. Enjoyable conversation. An enjoyable evening.

Ted left this morning to return to Cazenovia. God willing, he will be back next year. He spends one month a year in Key West. Stays at Banyan Court.

I came across a quote by Erasmus friday. Desiderius Erasmus. “Man’s mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth.”

Made me think of Trump’s solid 35 percent followers. Those who hang on his every word. Believe everything he says. Their Pied Pipper. He leads, they follow.

Erasmus was also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam. His field of expertise religious and Renaissance philosophy. A great scholar.

The Middle Ages died off in the mid to late 1400’s. The Renaissance replaced it. Erasmus one of it leaders.

Erasmus found much wanting with the Catholic Church. Not much different today from those times. He called for reformation of its abuses.

The following an act of sheer stupidity.

The Key West Police reported some one or more persons vandalized 12 cars. By spray painting on them. The vehicles were parked in the New Town and Mid Town areas.

Saturday a strange one for me. Normally, I enjoy being out and about saturday evenings. Was not that way yesterday.

Mid afternoon got a call from Guy de Boer. Come over and have cocktails with me.

I was on my way. Guy’s home palatial. Sits on the Riviera Canal. Its best, the trees and shrubbery between the house and canal.

We enjoyed a couple of drinks together.

Guy is in the process of acquiring a radio station. Wanted to know if I would do a show for him.

Of course. My plate is getting full again. However, I absolutely love doing the shows.

Guy was the first person to give me a shot at doing radio. Ten years ago. It as instantaneous love between me and radio.

Guy taught me a few things. Jenna Stauffer even more. Jenna was working with the station. Though young, she was educated and had previous experience in radio and TV. She became my teacher.

Left Guy’s trying to decide whether to go home or out. I opted to go home. Barbara left me with a refrigerator of all kind of good food she had prepared.

I enjoyed a meal of satisfying foods. Beans and greens followed by a delicious meat loaf.

While consuming this food from the gods, I watched the Texas Tech/Gonzaga game. The winner would go to the Final Four. Gonzaga the #1 seed, Texas Tech #3.

What a game! Texas Tech won 75-69. It will be Texas Tech’s first Final Four in the 94 years of its basketball program.

Texas Tech was decidedly the better team in the second half. Though with a minute to go, only 2 points separated the teams.

Texas Tech’s defense primarily responsible for the win. Caused 16 Gonzaga turnovers. In addition, Texas Tech scored when it had to. Especially with 3’s.

I was fed and happy. Had enjoyed one of the best basketball games ever. Decided to remain home the rest of the evening and watch old movies. Which is what I did.

The Beach Boys are coming to Key West. Thursday, April 4. They will be performing at Sunset Green.

The Beach Boys big time stars back when. An iconic American rock group.

There will be some gray hair watching. Musical fans of yesterday. Listening and watching a group from their time. The Beach Boys will return them to yesteryear.

The diseases of my youth have returned. Measles first. Now, the mumps.

There were no vaccines when I was a kid. You got immunized by getting the disease and living. Some died. Even for my children, all vaccines were not yet available. I recall my children and I getting the chicken pox. A pox on the pox! Not at the same time, of course.

Temple University is experiencing a sudden mumps epidemic. One hundred eight cases so far. Thousands of students voluntarily being vaccinated. Wednesday alone, 2,285. Even if previously vaccinated, getting booster shots.

Today a combination vaccine given on 2 separate occasions over a period of time has been known to take care of measles, mumps, and rubella. Some of the Temple infected never received the super dooper shot.

The shot is 3 in 1. Excellent in protecting against measles and rubella. Only “really good” against mumps.

A long blog. Sorry. Catch up time.

Enjoy your Sunday!





Yesterday was National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Vietnam was a strange war. The American people were against it. Prospective draftees were running off to Canada to avoid the draft. Families were encouraging their children to do so.

People marched in the streets in opposition. It was the first time I saw such demonstrations. Clergy, doctors, lawyers, college students, all elements of society.

We had honored World War II veterans. Even those of the Korean War. Vietnam was strangely different.

When the veterans returned, they were not met with bands and all types of honors. They just dropped back into the normal daily routine. Back to work, home with family, some off to college.

Vietnam veterans were disrespected.

In 2013, Key West erected a Vietnam Living Memorial at Bayview Park. I attended the dedication.

I have always felt guilty that I never served. Korea was over when I graduated high school. When Vietnam was heating up, the remorse returned. I was a young lawyer. My practice was starting to produce decent money. We had purchased a home. We had 4 young children.

I went home after work one evening and sat my wife down at the kitchen table. I have something to tell you, I said. She never expected what I hit her with: “I want to join the Marines.”

Her response was immediate and loud. She stood up over me and yelled, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR F—ING MIND?”

That was the end of the Marines.

I attended the Vietnam Memorial dedication in May 2013. There were a large number of former military standing around. All older, of course. Some with bellies. Others, long hair. Even some beards.

Most wearing something to signify that they were Vietnam Veterans. A cap, a jacket, whatever.

All stood proud, except those that could not stand. All had sharp salutes at the appropriate time during the dedication.

It was their time. Their country was finally respecting their service.

Yesterday, there was another service at Bayview Park. The day dedicated in Key West and the entire U.S. to honoring Vietnam veterans. Those who served. Dead and alive.

I stopped by. Though I did not serve, I always felt Vietnam was my war.

Some 200 in attendance. Long retired military. Some with family. Marines among them. Once again, all proud. You could see it on their faces and in their eyes.

Recognize the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam March 29, 1973. Forty six years ago.

I live on the golf course in Key West. My next door neighbors are Homero “John” Lopez and his wife.

One of the speakers at yesterday’s ceremony was my neighbor John. I had forgotten that he was a retired major from the Marine Corps. Did more than one tour of duty in Vietnam.

A conversation John and I had almost a year ago came back to mind.

We were outside our homes chatting as neighbors do. My memory tells me John and I are the same age. Eighty three. I might be off a year or 2 regarding John.

Somehow we got into a portion of John’s life. An important and proud one to him.

John joined the Marines. A young man. Not a U.S. citizen. He was born in Cuba or Mexico. The Marines became his life.

Vietnam erupted. John was shipped to Vietnam. A corporal or sergeant at the time. He received a battlefield commission as a second Lieutenant. The fight went on. He kept receiving battlefield promotions. By the end of the war, John was a major.

John wanted to stay in the Marines. He could not be a major, however. Battlefield commissions  are removed when a war is over. John’s rank dropped to sergeant.

Not dismayed, he was the best sergeant the Marines had. He continued to do well and moved up in the ranks. All the way back to major.

John had been in the service 32 years. He had to make Lieutenant Colonel or he would be retired. He did not make it. John was retired.

At some point in his career, John became a U.S. citizen. He was in Hawaii at the time. John is proud of his American citizenship. He and his wife return annually to Hawaii to celebrate the event.

Children and grandchildren brought John and his wife to Key West. The desire to be near family.

Their home next to mine is immaculate. Trees and foliage always trimmed. Not one branch even slightly out of line. The private walled back area blooming with all kinds of growth. Even bananas. John offered me a bunch one day. The bananas were overgrown and he had to cut some away.

An American story.

Recall, John was an immigrant. A dirty word to some today. He dedicated his entire adult life to the service of protecting “his country.” He fought in war. Put his life on the line.

Not like some who tend to criticize the immigrants of today. John had no disease, no criminal record, nothing to prohibit his entry.

Enjoy your day!



A photo of the Oldest Bar and Cistern Room at 428 Greene Street was taken on March 29, 1963. It appears in this morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section.

The photo was taken at the time of the formal opening of the Bar on March 29.

The Bar has a special significance. It was the first “semi-open” gay business in Key West. Captain Tony Tarracino owned the Bar at the time.

The picture motivated me to dig a bit and check the history of the building itself which today is named Captain Tony’s.

The first written history to be found is 1842. The building was used as an ice house. In the 1890’s, it was both an ice house and city morgue. Makes sense. The ice was used to preserve bodies for a period of time.

In the 1890’s, the building was further utilized as a wireless telegraph station.

Came 1912, the building was a cigar factory.

Following which it became a bordello and bar. A popular place with U.S. Navy personnel. The Navy at some point forced the business to close down. The Navy throughout its years in Key West never looked favorably upon prostitution.

The building reopened and housed several speakeasys. The last the Blind Pig. The Blind Pig specialized in gambling, women, and bootleg rum.

In the early 1930’s, Hemingway’s friend Joe Russell rented the bar and named it Sloppy Joe’s. Russell moved out to Sloppy Joe’s present location on Duval in the mid 1930’s.

The next 20 years found the bar having several different owners.

In 1958, Captain Tony Tarracino purchased the bar. He operated it till 1989 when he sold it to its present owners. The bar today continues to be named after Tarrracino. Captain Tony’s. A popular spot with locals and tourists.

Yesterday aftenoon spent time with Laurie and her radio show on Station 105.7 FM. My weekly 1.5 hour gig with her.

Every week, we become a better duo. Our exchanges interesting. Join us next thursday at 4 in the afternoon. You will enjoy.

Then to the Chart Room.

The charming Tammy bartending. Met a Georgia carpet maker. Milford Morgan. He was with William.

Morgan visits Key West at least twice a year. One of those weeks Christmas week. We talked about hotel prices during that week. Out of sight!

I envy Morgan. He first visited Key West in the 1970’s. The old Key West. Key West’s history during the 1970’s a rich one.

Elaine came in. Have not seen Elaine in a couple of weeks. She joined us. Looked terrific.

On the way out, ran into Al. A Key Wester. I have met him before at the Chart Room.

At 11 this morning, a special event. Remembrance of Vietnam. Vietnam Veterans day. I plan on attending. Though I did not serve, Vietnam was ongoing during my middle adult years. The War’s impact changed the U.S. Its effect with us even to today.

Big weekend at Boca Chica. The Blue Angels. Performing saturday and sunday. Aerial showtime. Jets flying all over.

The Blue Angels must have been practicing yesterday. I could hear them coming in low over my home. Can’t imagine the noise several would make simultaneously in war time.

Traffic has reached the crazy stage in Key West. Especially during season. Too many cars for too few roads.

I have come up with a new name for Key West roadways: Mad Ways. No question about it.

Some things bothersome whether you are Democrat or Republican.

Trump and his people demean opponents with silly names and sayings. Arouse the basic instincts of those attending rallies. Recall Hillary Clinton: Lock her up!

Donald Trump, Jr. came up with a new one at a Grand Rapids, Michigan rally yesterday.

AOC sucks!

AOC a woman. A newly elected Congressperson from New York. Her name Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Suck has more than one connotation. How would the Trumps feel if the Dems had a similar rallying cry re the President: Trump sucks!

Cuts 2 ways.

The Clinton “lock her up” cry is losing its vigor. Trump needed a new villain and a new rallying cry. He has apparently found it in the Congresswoman.

Trump has suggested retribution/retaliatory action against those who supported the collusion theory. He has referred to their conduct as treasonous.

Especially the media.

The next step could very well be the arrest of certain members of the media.

Philippine President Duerte ordered the arrest of a Philippine journalist yesterday. Maria Ressa.

Duerte refers to the media as “spies” and “sons of bitches.” Trump nicer. The news they report he refers to as “fake news.”

Whatever words used, Trump and Duerte are birds of a feather. Both like and respect each other. Both despots, bigots and mentally unbalanced.

Enjoy your day!




Luminaries visit Key West often. From all walks of life.

Brandi Love is visiting. A rest and relaxation trip. At the Pier House.

Brandi is an American pornographic actress. A star. Nominated 12 times for significant awards. Won 3. In 2013, for Best Cougar/MILF Performer. Two times in 2018. For MILF Performer of the Year and Best Actress.

Brandi’s real name is Tracey Lynn Livermore. Age 45. Looks 25. Resides with her husband and daughter in Raleigh, North Carolina.

There was a buzz on the streets yesterday re her visit. The buzz continued into the Chart Room where I heard it again.

Yesterday spent writing and laying around. Left the house around 4. First a meeting with a realtor. Then to the Chart Room.

Tammy bartending. The lady a charmer. A great bartender. The customers love her.

A whole family came in. Senior mother, 2 daughters and one son in law. The mother and I chatted.

She is presently living on Ramrod Key. First came to the Keys in the 1970’s. Her husband was with the Navy. Later, they started coming with regularity. They owned, then sold, and were renting.

Her husband died recently from cancer. He had a difficult time.

She returned with her children this week to straighten things out. As she told me, she was never alone before. She indicated she was on a learning curve.

I was sad for her. Joyful however that the kids were looking after her.

Some people were talking about Brandi Love. Two gentlemen at the end of the bar. Apparently they had seen her at the pool.

We also conversed about Captain Tony’s and Irma. One of them mentioned that following Irma, some parts of Captain Tony’s were blown into the street.

The walls and ceilings of Captain Tony’s were filled with dollar bills. Some were blown out onto the street. No one knew what happened to them thereafter.

I am not sure if that dollar bill story is accurate. I wrote this morning to Captain Tony’s daughter Toni to see if she knew anything about it.

I told the story of Manuel Cabeza a few days ago. The World War I veteran who was murdered by the Klu Klux Klan. The Klan was unhappy Cabeza was living with a mulatto woman. They beat him. Then tied and dragged him from the rear bumper of a car. Finally hung him from a tree on Flagler. Shot him full of bullets as his body hung from the tree.

Wow, you may say. This happened in Key West?


Cabeza was killed Christmas eve 1921. Key West was a Klan stronghold in those days. The heads of the police, sheriff and fire departments were members. Key West’s representative to the State Legislature a member, also. In addition to which he was the Grand Dragon of the Florida Klan. He ran the Klan out of his home on Eaton Street.

Florida Keys Community College conducts a VIP series. On wednesday April 3 at 7 pm, a a group will speak re the Klan and Key West. The presentation will be led by award winning author and historian Arlo Haskell.

I have heard Haskell speak. He is interesting.

This afternoon, Laurie and Louis. I join my good friend Laurie Thibaud on her talk show Party Time. From 4-5:30. Station 105.7 FM, WGAY FM.

A good time!

When will Trump learn? When will his staff learn?

Betsy De Vos is Education Secretary. She was testifying before a Congressional Committee yesterday. The subject the Education Department’s proposed budget.

The federal government helps the Special Olympics. The Olympics for those with afflictions that deny them enjoying life as others do. The Olympics provides the opportunity.

The budget listed $17.6 million for the Special Olympics. De Vos had removed the entire amount from the budget.

Hard to understand.

In Washington, dollars in the millions are a drop in the bucket. You have to get into the high billions before any one becomes concerned.

The same budget has Trump seeking a few billion for his unneeded wall. He is also moving money from other accounts to help pay for the wall.

Keep in mind also, the huge Trump tax cut given to the rich last year. Generally described as $1 trillion.

And Trump and company want to take a mere $17.6 million from those who really need what it can do for them.

De Vos’ background will help you understand the people Trump has in place helping him. In this case, a most heartless person.

Betsy is married to Richard De Vos, former CEO of Amway. He presently is one of the owners of the Orlando Magic professional basketball team. Betsy’s brother is Erick Prince, the founder of Blackwater. He has made millions with Blackwater successor companies that provide contract soldiers, border guard assistance, housing for the children taken from parents at the border. He may also own some privatized jails. If he does not, he has been trying to get into that field also.

The De Vos family is estimated to be worth $5.3 billion. The 88th richest family in America. They are part of the 1 percent who have all the money.

Ten yachts are owned by the family. Spread all over the world. One a 163 foot yacht that is moored on Lake Erie.

Betsy De Vos who has much obviously has little care for those who have significantly less than her. Actually, nothing.

A form of Medieval martial law has been imposed in Rockland County, New York. The measles epidemic has hit the County hard. One hundred fifty three confirmed measle cases.

The County Legislature has declared a 30 day State of Emergency. Any unvaccinated person under 18 is prohibited from being in any public place.

Things are that bad.

The swamp has gotten larger and deeper since Trump went to Washington. The swamp he was going to clean up.

The major contributing problem is Trump appoints persons lacking in character and morality.

He recently nominated Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board. Apparently Moore was either not vetted or improperly vetted. He owes the IRS $75,000 for the tax year 2014.

Failure to pay taxes brings to mind Michael Avenatti. The Los Angeles Times and HIVE recently reported Avenatti has not paid taxes since 2009, that he owes taxes of $570,000 for 2009 and $282,000 for 2010. In addition, he has not filed a tax return since 2010.

Finally, a Powerball winner! Not me. Not you, unless you are the person in Wisconsin who had the correct numbers. The total amount $768 million.

I rarely play. Blew $20 on lottery tickets yesterday. Worth it. My mind kept repeating…..Just maybe!

Enjoy your day!


Batman has kept pace with me age wise. He will be 80 years old March 30th. He was born/first publication March 30, 1939.

I suspect he will say “Holy Milestones” as he celebrates his birthday on the 30th.

Batman is proof good guys survive. You don’t read anywhere that the Joker is celebrating a birthday.

Batman is recognized as one of the world’s greatest super heroes. Up there with Superman and Wonder Woman.

He is also known as the Caped Crusader and the Dark Knight. He fought crime in Gotham City.

Batman had a today car in the 1940’s. His Batmobile was sleek and could do everything.

I am not ashamed to admit I read his comic books in the 1940’s. We all read comic books. Followed our heroes. We were hooked on them as today’s kids are hooked on their cell phones.

Happy birthday, Batman! Hope you make it to a 100. Probably will as you are still being published and going strong.

America loves you. Evidenced by your many readers and movies made revealing your exploits. It is impressive that your character has starred in several major films. Each time played by a leading actor.

Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou last night. Fun time! Love doing the show!

Chatted about the Mueller and Barr reports, an old description of the Chart Room, and the Parkland shooting perpetrator who appears to have attained Charles Manson status while in jail.

In 2013, Diana Nyad walked out of the Atlantic onto Smathers Beach. She had completed her swim from Havana to Key West.

Diana was already known world wide. The Havana-Key West swim added to her notoriety.

Diana and Key West bonded. She has been a frequent visitor. Key  West honored her by placing a plaque where she stepped onto Smathers Beach.

Diana will be in Key West again next wednesday, April 3rd. She is giving a talk at 7 at The Studios of Key West. Title of her lecture The Courage to Fail. An evening of story telling.

Tickets $60, $44, and $35.

Big air show saturday and sunday at the Naval Air Station at Boca Chica. The Blue Angels and the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron appearing.

Show time 9-4 each day.

Very heavy traffic anticipated. Be ready for it. Dress lightly. Wear sun glasses.

Harry Truman did it again! Completed another 3 week working vacation at The Little White House in Key West. On this day in 1952, Truman returned to Washington.

Truman as much a part of Key West as Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. He loved Key West. Key West does not forget. Key West loves his memory in return.

A few recent Trump comments.

Trump’s greatest victory as President was the Mueller report which found him free of collusion/conspiracy with Russia.

Instead of enjoying the rarity of something favorable to him, he went on a tirade yesterday while at the Senate luncheon.

He went after Puerto Rico. The most powerful man in the world stomping on a small island inhabited by his fellow Americans. He renewed his argument that Puerto Rico was not devastated by Maria as has been reported and that $91 billion had already been spent in Puerto Rico.

Not a penny more!

As usual, Trump did not know what he was talking about. The figure much less than $91 billion, though I am not sure exactly how much at the moment.

Where he got the $91 billion figure from, no one knows.

He further exhibited his love for the people of Puerto Rico when earlier this year he asked the U.S. Army Corps Engineers to look into diverting $13.9 billion from monies already approved for Puerto Rico to help with Maria damage. Trump wants to use the $13.9 billion for the wall.

Trump is back into Obamacare. Wants it totally  eliminated. Expects to accomplish the result by a case already pending in the federal courts.

He is out of step with the American people. The 2018 election was about health care. The Republicans will go nowhere with it even if Obamacare were thrown out. There are 20 million new insureds out there who will be sure to vote in 2020 for Trump’s opponent.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a brilliant guy. He knows the rules of procedure for the Senate. It is his body.

Nancy Pelosi is similarly astute on the House side.

McConnell showed his genius manipulative spirit yesterday.

He brought the Green New Deal resolution to a vote in the Senate. It was unanimously defeated by all Republicans voting against it. The Democrats abstained from the vote, except for a couple who merely voted Present.

Why McConnell was a genius yesterday. The vote was a procedural one. Not substantive in any fashion. By proceeding with a procedural vote first, McConnell under Senate rules eliminated any debate, hearings, or public testimony about the resolution or its merits in the future.

A screw job! Perfectly proper, however.

Barbara left yesterday. The house is quiet. Not that she made a lot of noise. When you live alone, the presence itself of another person is noisy.

Some errands to run this afternoon. Then the Chart Room. Have not been there for several nights. Missed it.

Enjoy your day!




An 8 year old boy from Nigeria has succeeded big time. Not without assistance. It took a “village.”

The young man’s name Tanitoluwa Adewumi. Family and friends call him Tani.

The family refugees from what has been described by President Trump as a shit hole country. Christians. They fled Nigeria in 2017. Boho Haram terrorists were on a rampage attacking Christians.

They arrived on American shores with nothing, except the clothes they wore. They are here legally, seeking asylum.

Homeless in America. Various welfare organizations provided assistance. Their living quarters a homeless shelter in Manhattan. Tani and his 11 year old brother attend a public school, P.S. 116. Churchgoers. Father works 2 jobs. Drives a rented Uber and sells real estate. The mother recently obtained a hospital care certificate, but until now has not been able to find a job.

P.S. 116 has a chess club. A fee required to participate. Tani for some reason was attracted to the game. He and his family did not have the money to join. The chess club waived the fee.

Tani became addicted to chess. Practiced long hours in the evening. Attended the chess club regularly. His mother took him to a Harlem facility every saturday afternoon to practice an additional 3 hours.

One year after beginning to learn chess, Tani entered the New York State Chess Championship. Competed in his age group.

He won. Destroyed the completion. Primarily from elite private schools. Never lost a match.

The trophy he proudly carried home was almost as big as Tani.

New York Times opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof enters the picture. He wrote a column re Tani. His background and success. The column’s thrust was talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.

The column ran 3/16/19. A follow up column one week later on 3/23/19.

Kristof’s first column revealed Tani’s story to the world. The follow up column 7 days later with what occurred as a result.

Tani’s success went world wide. An 8 year old champion destined to be champion as an adult. Brilliance in the midst of poverty.

Unanticipated rewards came from everywhere.

Six housing units. Some palatial. The family opted for a 2 bedroom modest apartment near Tani’s middle school. A donor paid the rent in advance for one year. Another donor supplied the furniture, sheets and towels.

A GoFundMe account was opened in Tani’s name. Within a matter of days, over $200,000 came in. One would think a homeless family would personally enjoy the $200,000. Not so. Tani’s father tithed their Church 10 percent. The Church and its pastor had been good to the family ever since it arrived. The balance placed in a Tanitoluwa Adewumi Trust Fund. Its purpose to help African immigrant families struggling in the United States.

A number of immigration attorneys came forth offering their assistance pro bono.

Three film companies have approached Tani’s father. Each wants to do a movie about Tani.

Three private schools offered Tani a scholarship. The scholarship offers have been refused. Tani prefers to continue attending the middle school he has. He recognizes the good his chess teachers and the staff have done for him.

Tani soon will be meeting Bill Clinton.

Tani’s father has a new car of his own. The donor thought he could keep more of his earnings were he not driving a rented car.

Tani’s mother has been offered a position at a hospital.

The excitement of winning had to be monumental for Tani.  When asked however what he would be enjoying most, he said his mother’s cooking. The new apartment has a kitchen. Living in a homeless shelter for a year he had to go without her food preparation.

Tani was asked were there things he wanted that he could have bought if the family kept the $200,000. Tani said no. We have everything now. Then he thought for a moment. I would like a computer.

I am sure one will be forthcoming.

Shawn Martinez is one of Tani’s school chess teachers. He commented, “One year to get to this level, to climb a mountain and be the best of the best, without family resources…..I’ve never seen it.”

A lot of good things have happened to Tani in a sort time. Asked how he felt about it all, he responded “I feel American.”

God bless Tani. God bless his family who provided his moral basis. God bless his chess teachers and his priest.

Finally, God bless Nicholas Kristof who brought Tani’s success story to the world.

It took a village.

Enjoy your day!






Mueller’s report came out friday afternoon. Barr’s report based on it sunday afternoon. Took Barr only 48 hours to consume and write his 4 page report to Congress.


I am uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with the way Justice seems to be working in this matter. Not just the speed of Barr’s report.

Justice in the U.S. has been on a downward trend the past 20 years. It has become increasingly politicized. In the past 4 years more so. In the past 2, especially.

Not the way the Founding Fathers intended.

The investigation of Trump has been the most serious of any President in the history of the U.S. Makes Nixon, Iran-Contra, and Clinton look like kid stuff. More information required. Information provided the public. Mueller’s report itself.

Called transparency. The people have a right to know.

Vengeance is mine…..saith the Lord. Romans 12:19.

I fear Trump will embark on a crusade of vengeance. It is the nature of the man. He believes himself to be God like.

The wrong tact. He should sit back and be happy he escaped what could have been a most disastrous situation. He beat the rap, so to speak.

Won’t happen. His call.

The result of the investigation a clear victory for him. To this point. The last chapter has not yet been written.

To the pleasant things in life. Good company and food last night.

Dinner at Donna and Terri’s. Barb with us. Stone crabs. Sooooo good!

You can understand my description only if you have had them.

Later today busy for me. Finally going to buy some new clothes. Sport shirts. Then to Dueling Bartenders. Followed by dinner at La Trattoria.

Key West house prices have gone crazy again. A 10 year high has been reported for 2018. The average sale price $675, 303.

The prices will drop. Nothing is forever. It will be like 2008. The prices will fall dramatically. Many will say…..I should have sold!

I shared the Manual Cabeza story with you yesterday. The final services he did not receive in 1921 were held yesterday at the Key West Cemetery. Twenty two of his descendants were located and came to Key West to attend the event. The Key West Police provided the honor guard. Many dignitaries and residents in attendance.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section has a photo of Herbert Hoover. A picture of Hoover fishing in the Keys.

Hoover annually visited the Keys. An avid fisherman. Generally stayed in the Key Largo area. Occasionally came as far south as Islamorada and Key West to enjoy the sport.

The interesting thing about Hoover’s fishing trips was the way he dressed. Always the same. Whether in a row boat or larger vessel, he wore a suit with shirt and tie or a sports  jacket, slacks, with shirt and tie. Rarely did he remove the jacket. It had to be extremely warm for him to do so.

On this day in 1959, Sugar Ray Robinson defeated Carmen Basilio to recover the Middleweight Championship Belt. Basilio had defeated Robinson in their previous match.

It was the fifth and last title Robinson would win.

My story is not about Robinson. It concerns Carmen Basilio.

Basilio was born, raised and spent a good portion of his life in Canastota, N.Y. Canastota 30 miles from my hometown Utica.

Canastota is known as the onion capital of the world. Basilio was referred to in boxing circles as the upstate onion farmer.

In his later year, Basilio served as Physical Director at Le Moyne College in Syracuse.

Winning the middleweight title a major event in Basilio’s life. He enjoyed 2 more events.

He was influential in having the International Boxing Hall of Fame built in Canastota. Today, the Boxing Hall of Fame a major tourist attraction.

Basilio was elected to the Hall of Fame in his later years.

Basilio’s nephew was Billy Backus. Backus followed in his uncle’s foot steps. He became Welterweight Champion of the World. Basilio worked closely with Backus. Basilio claims his nephew winning he title excited him more than when he became middleweight champion.

Trump’s “friend” Putin continues to push him in Venezuela. Yesterday, 2 Russian planes landed at the Caracas airport. One hundred Russian troops departed and apparently will remain.

Putin’s message to Trump clear: Do not invade Venezuela.

Powerball gets bigger and bigger. No one has won this one yet. The next drawing wednesday. $750 million.

A tidy sum.

I normally do not buy lottery tickets. I will for this one. Who knows!

Enjoy your day!


David A. Kaufelt was a novelist and national literary figure. He established Key West as a fixture in the national literary consciousness. Even more than Ernest Hemingway. The Key West Literary Seminar his brainchild. The Seminar significant in drawing the literary world’s attention to Key West.

Kaufelt had a personal theory why people opt to live in Key West. Referred to it as the Peter Pan Theory: “Freud said we are at our most creative when we are in our very early youth, before we’re five years old. That’s where we are here. We wear shorts, we ride bicycles, we have the water, a great symbol of the unconscious, and we’re free to be children here and let our spirits go. There’s nobody in suits and ties telling us what we have to do.”

A special person, Kaufelt passed on in 2014. Wherever he is, still wearing shorts and riding a bicycle.

The first house to be built in Key West was completed in 1825. Today at 322 Duval. When first constructed on Whitehead.

It was 1821. A Mr. Heeming (sometimes referred to as Mr. Hemming) came to Key West accompanied by workers and materials. The house was built on Whitehead. Took 3 years to complete.

In 1832, a Richard Cussans physically moved the house to 322 Duval at the request of its new owner, Captain Francis Wallington. The house remains known to this day as the Wallington House. A major Key West tourist attraction.

In the same year and totally unrelated, Lt. Commander Matthew C. Perry sailed the schooner Shark to Key West and planted the American flag. Thereby claiming the Keys as U.S. property.

No one protested. Neither country or person. Amazing!

An important today Key West attraction is the Key West Golf Course. Everyone plays!

The course is well maintained. Lovely. Wide fairways. Peace and tranquility experienced while playing. Unless of course a player misses a 1 foot putt.

The golf course was opened on March 23, 1924. Only the first 6 holes. A great day for locals and in later years for locals and the army of tourists who love the game.

Stone crabs! My favorite food. I have often said if I were to executed tomorrow, my last meal tonight would be stone crabs.

Got cheated Friday night at the Conch Republic. No stone crabs.

The problem will be resolved this evening at Donna and Terri’s. Stone crabs! Six pounds for four of us. Barbara will also be partying.

The stone crabs have been ordered at the Eaton Street Fish Market. We have been assured they will be available for pickup at 6 tonight.

There are good and bad people. The bad the sick part of our society.

Recall the Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. Seventeen students killed, 17 injured. The shooter Nikolas Cruz. Presently serving a life sentence.

A hero to some. He receives stacks of fan mail (even nudes). Most from teen age girls and women. Some from men. He has become an icon to those fascinated by him.

Fan clubs have been formed. Fans have banded on Facebook and other social media sites. One group has over 1,000 members who regularly post messages for Cruz. He is referred to in many of the messages as “cute” or “handsome.”


The sick of society reach even high levels of government. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo an example.

Yesterday while addressing a Jewish gathering, he intimated God had sent Trump to invade Iran in order to protect Israel from Iran. He said it’s “possible” God sent Trump to save the Jewish people.

Pompeo made his remarks on Purim, the celebration of the Jewish exodus from the ancient Achaemenid Persian Empire which today is known as Iran.

The following statement was made to Pompeo: “President Trump now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from an Iranian menace.”

Pompeo commented in response: “I am confident the Lord is at work here.”

What is happening? Religious fanaticism at its worst. Have we crossed from light to dark into the twilight zone?

Pompeo is a Christian Zionist. An evangelical Zionist. Trump admires him. He is dragging Trump into a bad situation. He is dragging the U.S. into a bad situation.

No question Israel wants war with Iran. Israel has a problem. It is doubtful it can win without the engagement on their side of the U.S. war machine.

Many Presidents wanted to be “war Presidents.” Few even got close to succeeding. I worry Trump may have the war bug.

Last week, the new Brazilian President Bolsonaro met in Washington with Trump. Brazil borders Venezuela. Trump wants to oust Maduro. Invasion/war may be the only way.

Bolsonaro left the meeting with military aid and I sense an agreement to follow the U.S. lead as regards Venezuela.

Tomorrow and Tuesday, Israel’s Netanyahu will be in Washington for meetings with Trump. Meetings Monday and Tuesday. A state dinner Tuesday night.

Trump continues to suck up to Netanyahu who wants U.S. support for an Iranian invasion.

Staying with Trump a moment, the Mueller Report is done and delivered to Attorney General Barr. TV this morning tells us Barr will release “something” to Congress and the public today.

We all wait with bated breath.

Many are concerned the Report will not include an indictment of Trump and certain of his family members. Jonathan Turley yesterday wrote: “If Mueller’s Report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion.” From law professor to poet.

Ending on a positive note, Tennessee Williams.

March is Tennessee Williams month. He was a Key West resident for more than 30 years. His home on Duncan 1 block from Lisa’s.

Williams first wrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as a play. The play opened on Broadway this day 1955. A hit! Williams won his second Pulitzer Prize for it.

The movie released in 1958 a hit also. Starred Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and Burl Ives.

Certain aspects of Williams’ relationship with his father are incorporated into Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Williams association with his demanding father a difficult one.

Enjoy your Sunday!


The Manuel Cabeza story.

Manual is being honored at 5 this afternoon at the Key West Cemetery. A celebration not received in 1921 when he died. Local dignitaries will speak. Cabeza’s family has been located and certain members are arriving in Key West to attend.

Manuel was a conch. His family originally from the Canary Islands. Manuel was born in Key West, however. He fought in World War I.

Returned to Key West and became a successful “businessman.” Ran the Red Rooster. A bar, coffee shop, and sporting club. A place for action after the sun went down.

It was 1921. Many are unaware that back in those days Key West had a strong and active Klu Klux Klan. The group responsible for much wrong.

Whites and blacks consorting in public a no no. Living together the worse.

Manuel had a black girl friend. Mulatto. She was a madam. Perhaps at the Red Rooster. I could not determine if that was where she worked. I assume so, however.

Manuel and his black lady friend lived together in a room in the back of the Red Rooster. The affair not a back street one.

Manuel a tough hombre. People did not screw with him. Muscle bound, he would take guff from no one.

The white men of the community did not look fondly on Manuel’s open and brazen relationship with a black lady. Most were Klu Klux Klanners. They decided to do something about it.

Three days before Christmas the Klan went to the Red Rooster, took hold of Manuel, stripped him and then tarred and feathered him. Ran him out of town on a rail.

Tarring and feathering normally a killer in those days. Manuel survived. Christmas eve he sought his revenge.

While being tarred and feathered, he was able to remove the masks of 3 of the Klan members. He knew them. Stalwart citizens of Key West.

Manual hired a taxi and went looking for the 3. His intent to kill them. He carried a gun.

William Decker was one of his assailants. The manager of a cigar factory. He found him in his car. Shot Decker in the head killing him.

The taxi rolled on looking for the other 2.

Word had spread that Manuel was out and about and intended to kill certain of those who had tarred and feathered him 3 days earlier. The Klan caught up with the taxi at the corner of Whitehead and Petronia. Shooting occurred. Resulted in a standoff. The Sheriff called in the Marines from the Navy Base to assist in apprehending Manuel.

Manuel distrusted the Sheriff. A known Klu Klux Klanner. One of the Marines Manuel knew and trusted, convinced Manuel to give himself up. He did and was taken to jail.

Around midnight, the Sheriff told the Marines to leave as everything was quiet and he anticipated no problems.

They left.

Within an hour, 5 cars full of Klu Klux Klanners arrived. The Sheriff let them in. They went into Manuel’s cell and beat him senseless with lead filled blackjacks.

He was then dragged out to the street and tied to the rear bumper of a car. Still alive at the time. Dragged through the streets of Key West.

Manuel was finally hung from a tree on Flagler. While hanging, his body was riddled with bullets.

A gruesome sight awaited Key West citizens when they left their homes Christmas morning.

No one was ever arrested. Manuel’s body dumped into a hole in the cemetery with no stone, service, etc.

Today some of the wrongs perpetrated upon him will to a degree be corrected. There will be a celebration of his life. A new grave stone. Flowers. Family. And Key West citizens.

There is more to the story. Manuel’s black lady friend put a voodoo spell on the Klan members. What followed unbelievable. For another day, however.

There is a resurgence of the Klan. Haters all. They openly march again. Anti-black. Anti-Semitic.

They have returned at a time when many do not distinguish any difference between the races. Especially the young. Many relationships and intermarriages.

Recall for the moment TV advertising today. Many of the advertisements contain black and white couples.

In 50 years, race should finally be a thing of the past in the U.S.  Intermarriage will take place resulting in most of the population being tan.

Manuel and his black woman were 125 years too early.

Remember Omar Little? Hero/villain of the HBO drama series The Wire. Think back to Ralph Waldo Emerson at the same time.

Mueller’s report went to the Attorney General late yesterday afternoon. The world has been told there are no new indictments in the report. Which means Trump will not be indicted. At least, not as a result of Mueller’s report.

Another consideration involved. Omar and Emerson brought us words that in effect said the following: “If you come at the king, you best not miss.”

Expect Trump to unleash his venom with a renewed fury.

The Dow fell yesterday 460 points. A U.S. recession in the making? Germany is teetering on the brink of recession. Some economists say Germany is already there. Japan and China having problems.

I have thought so. I was predicting by the end of last year or the beginning of this one. I was incorrect, but only as to time. I believe one is coming. The economists say within a year. Who am I to disagree with them.

I close with last night. A good one. Dinner with Donna, Terri and Barbara at the Conch Republic. We had fun!

Two negatives however. We made sure neither spoiled our evening.

We went to the Conch Republic for stone crabs. No stone crabs! A disaster. Instead, we enjoyed raw oysters and a fish dish. I had fried shrimp. Have to admit, outstanding!

Andrea and Joe were to have joined us. Andrea got sick. Good people. They were missed.

Remember Porky Pig!

Enjoy your day!



Yesterday, interesting.

Started the day with Lori. Haircut time. I was in the chair less than 5 minutes. We covered a multitude of sins during the time. It has always been so during the 20 years she has been cutting my hair.

Radio show with Laurie Thibaud at 4. Station 105.7 FM, WGAY FM.

Party Time!

We get better together every week. Exchange thoughts about everything. I enjoy doing the show with her.

The station’s owner was in. Michael Stapleford. Not sure where his permanent home is. He has taken an apartment in Key West since opening the station.


Talk about it being a small world, Michael and I have similar roots. He was born and raised in the Utica area. St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital. Raised in nearby Clinton. His Dad a physician. Ob-gyn. Practiced at the Slocum-Dixon Clinic.

It gets better.

Michael went to Syracuse. Graduated from Newhouse. He had to be smart to get into Newhouse. One of the finest communication schools in the country.

Today, I do a small show once a week with Laurie at a radio station he owns.

The show over, I walked across the street to the Pier House. The Chart Room, of course.

Great time!

Ted from Cazenovia at the bar. My retired court clerk friend. He is in Key West till the end of the month.

Farmer friend Devin came in. A midwest farmer taking a beating because of Trump’s tariff war with China.

Further down this blog, I have written a bit about the farm industry being in a coffin waiting to be buried if the tariff war with China is not soon resolved.

David showed up. I was surprised. David was a Chart Room regular every evening. Now, I am lucky if I see him once a month. He tells me Aqua’s Side Bar is his new watering hole.

As I was leaving, ran into Boomer and his wife. Boomer a long time bartender at Don’s Place. I was glad to see them both. Don’s Place has fallen off my places to imbibe so I have not seen Boomer in well over a year.

I told him to say hello to Don for me.

Funny, Don called me 2 weeks ago. First time we have spoken in 2 years. We stopped seeing each other for reasons other than a falling our. Don called yelling over the phone, “Louis, we have not seen each other in a long time. We have to go out to dinner. I’ll call you.”

I’m still waiting. If he does not call by next week, I will call him.

The big event of the evening was Syracuse/Baylor at 10. The first game for both teams in March Madness.

My concern was whether I could stay up that late to watch. I am in bed and asleep most nights by 9. I made it through the first half. Looked at the computer this morning to see who won. It was not Syracuse. Baylor beat Syracuse 78-69.

I am glad the season is over. Too much to take. We won some games we should have lost. We lost games we should have won.

A depressing season.

Power went out this morning. Not for long. Took forever for my computer to kick back on. Wi-fi not connecting. Ergo, I am behind with the blog.

Looking forward to tonight. Dinner with friends at the Conch Republic. The company good. Even better, the meal. Stone crabs. Preceded by oysters.

Dinner companions Donna and Terri, Andrea and Joe, and Barbara.

Two famous people who were in Key West this date in separate years.

In 1902, Mark Twain. Here only for a day. On his way to Cuba.

In 1951, Key West’s beloved Harry Truman. He left for Washington after spending 3 weeks on vacation. Stayed at The Little White House, of course.

This day important for another reason. Not because a particular person was here. Rather a national event occurred. Today’s Key West would be a depressed town economically with out it.

It was 1933. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Beer and Revenue Act. The new law legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Can you imagine Duval Street without bars selling alcohol. The town would be deserted.

Trump continuously destroys the good in whatever he attempts.

The farm crisis one example.

America’s farmers were basically doing well. Especially in the midwest. They were in the modern swing of things. Many doing business with China.

Trump decides China is not treating the U.S. fairly. He begins a trade war. I recall him saying trade wars were good. He would straighten China out. The U.S. would make more money as a result.

Trump thought the Chinese would back down. He knew them not. Trump was publicly spitting on another major power. An Asian one. Asians always concerned about saving face also.

We have been in the tariff war with China for several months. Trump keeps indicating resolution around the corner. Never comes.

The result is America’s farm country is in a casket. A casket waiting to be lowered into the ground. Buried.

Farmers are suffering their worst economic crisis in 30 years. They cannot sell what was grown. Fortunately, soybeans and corn can be stored. No cash flow, however. No money to meet interest payments. Some losing their farms.

Three causes involved: Low commodity prices, trade war pressures, and record flooding.

The effect of U.S. farmer problems is upending economies around the globe. Trump’s “booming economy” has not touched the farmers. Trump’s trade war with China is killing the American farmer.

A little warm heartedness called for after sharing the American Farmer’s plight.

When I was younger (a long time ago), saturday afternoon was spent at a local theater watching the movies. A double feature, series, and cartoon.

The cartoons were Walt Disney at his best. The one’s starring Porky Pig utilized the same sign off each time. It would be Porky smiling and waving his arm from one side to another saying “That’s all folks!”

For me, that’s all for today. Enjoy it!