We have everything in Key West.

Used to have many cats. Now, few. Some think the iguanas ate the cats. Chickens still around, though in fewer numbers. Pythons into the Keys. Only one so far in Key West. Two years ago. An 8 footer along the runway at the airport. Some think it may have been droped there.

Now, crocodiles?

Over the years, there have been a few sightings in the lower keys of a crocodile in a canal. Recently, one in an Islamorada pool.

A home fronting on the ocean. A pool between the home and ocean. Yesterday morning, an 8 foot croc seen in the pool. Authorities called. Nothing to do. Crocodile climbed out of the pool on its own and returned to the ocean.

No one wants a crocodile in their back yard. Whether Islamorada or Key west. Hope this was a one time occurrence. Islamorada is 77 miles from Key West.

What bugs me is that crocodiles are considered a threatened species. So says the federal government. Can’t kill them. Does not make sense. Crocodiles can kill humans, but humans cannot kill crocodiles.

Back on the treadmill yesterday. Felt good. Went slow. Spent the rest of the day writing. Dinner last night at La Trattoria Oceanside.

An excellent crowd. I walked around to determine local/tourist mix. I must have been the only local. Knew no one.

I spent five days nursing my cold. All five days spent at home. Killed the cold. Also rested my body. I felt rested yesterday. Ready to go! Must have needed the down time. I have been complaining to myself lately how tired I felt.

This week’s KONK Life column Late Night Diner published wednesday in KONK Life. Today, it is running in E-Blast.  It was also linked to my Key West Lou website this morning.

It is the story of artist Edward Hopper and his painting Nighthawks. People in a diner late at night.

Yesterday was National Hugging Day. Also known as National Hug Day. Not new. Began in 1986. Has grown dramatically world wide. Consideration is being given to renaming the day International Hugging Day.

The day was started to get people out of the lull/depression which hits between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

There is a most hugable person each year. The Most Hugable Person 2016 is Tim Harris of Albuquerque. Tim is a 30 year old Down Syndrome individual.

Tim has hugged people on National Hugging Day for purposes of charity fundraising. In 2014, he hugged 1,000 people and raised $6,000. Last year, he hugged 2,000 people and raised $13,000.

This day in 1912 was a big one in Key West. Overseas Railroad’s first train arrived in Key West. Multitudes welcomed the train.  It was Henry Flagler’s dream come true. A train from Florida’s mainland to Key West.

The 1935 Labor Day hurricane wiped out a good portion of the railroad and killed hundreds. The railroad took its biggest hit in the middle keys. The hurricane was a 5. Was labeled Storm of the Century.

The railroad bed and bridges were not rebuilt. The railroad had not been making money. Remnants of the bridges can be seen in a drive on US 1 through the middle keys.

There was no blog published wednesday. Many of you contacted me yesterday asking where it was. I don’t know. I did what I always do and thought it published. I went back yesterday and tried to find it. No way. I must have hit a wrong key and the blog is out there somewhere in never never land.


Enjoy your day!


edward hopper pic


One of the most respected American artists of the modern era is Edward Hopper (1882-1967). His most famous work Nighthawks. The name misleading. The painting easily recognizable. A diner late at night with three customers and a counterman. All at the counter. Two men and a woman seated. The counterman behind the counter.

The painting an oil on canvas.

It took Edward one and a half months to complete the painting. It was completed January 21, 1942. He then had the painting shown for sale at his dealer’s gallery.

Soon thereafter, Edward and his wife Josephine were were at a gallery showing by another artist. In attendance was Daniel Calton Rich. Rich was Director of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Josephine suggested Rich stop by the gallery showing her husband’s work and look at Nighthawks. She thought he would like it. He did. He purchased it for the Art Institute for $3,000. A lot of money at the time. In today’s dollars adjusted for inflation, $43,200.

The statement reflecting the sale shows that Edward’s net take from the sale was $1,971. The gallery’s commission was one third or $1,000. Out of pocket costs totaled $29.

The Art Institute has never sold the painting.  Its present day value has to be in the millions. A Hopper painting not as popular East Wind Over Weehawken was sold by Christie’s in 2013 for $40.5 million.

Edward and Josephine married in 1924. They kept a journal of each of Edward’s paintings. Edward’s contribution was a pencil sketch of the painting and a precise description of technical details involved. Josephine’s was information about the theme of the painting and any interesting/helpful information.

The name Nighthawks is unusual when one considers the painting is of persons in a diner late at night. Nighthawks are birds.Their beaks are small sharp pointed bills.

In a letter to a relative, Josephine wrote that the name Nighthawks was in reference to one of the men sitting at the bar. The man next to the woman. He has a long sharp nose.

In another letter to Edward’s sister Marion, Josephine wrote that the subject for one customer and the counterman was Edward. He viewed himself in the mirror as he drew them. Josephine was the model for the woman.

The site of the diner is not certain. Experts agree it is in Manhattan. Some say on Greenwich Avenue. Edward at one time said it was the interior of a cheap restaurant which he simplified for the painting.

The diner and figures in Nighthawks are so widely recognized that subsequent works by others include some portions.

Gottfried Helnwein’s Boulevard of Dreams (1984) was somewhat of a replica. A spoof of Hopper’s Nighthawks. The persons in the painting were easily recognizable. The three customers were Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. The counterman, Elvis Presley.

Nighthawks appears in some form in novels, short stories and poems. Even movies. The movies include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pennies From Heaven, Deep Red, and Blade Runner.

A comic book cover also. Archie cover #649. It showed Archie, Jughead and Hotday eating at Pop Tate’s diner.

Hopper was influenced by early 1930 crime movies such as Scarface and Little Caesar. The darkness in Nighthawks represents that influence.

There is also a feeling of isolation. Represented by the few number of people and the diner having no door. Hopper was attempting to portray the feeling of loneliness one can have in a crowd. Especially in a city like New York. Hopper has been quoted as saying, “Unconsciously, probably I was painting the loneliness of a large city.”

Hopper was inspired by Hemingway’s 1927 short story The Killers. As to the diner setting. In the Killers, there is a corner restaurant scene. Hopper drew loneliness from it.

Musicians have been inspired by Nighthawks. Tom Waits’ Nighthawks At the Diner. Also, the song Masters and Angels whose setting is in a diner reminiscent of the one in Nighthawks.

Television has relied on Nighthawks for various scenes. CST: Crime Scene Investigation being one. Would you believe, the Simpson’s. All at a counter eating.

I love Turner Classic Movies. Watch the old films every day. Turner pays homage to Nighthawks in an introductory sequence. Look for it the next time Turner has the band rolling and scenes moving fast to introduce the next movie.

Why did I opt to write this week about Edward Hopper and Nighthawks?

Jack Baron was a longtime Key West friend. To know him was to love him. He was an artist. When I met him, he was already working out of his gallery in Square One.

Every morning, several of us would get together with Jack and his partner Bob to solve the world’s problems.

I had known Jack for several years. Though a collector, I never bought Jack’s paintings. They were local. Seldom do local paintings take off dollar wise.

One day, Jack handed me a beautifully leather bound book titled America’s Greatest  Artists. He opened the book to the page showing Edward Hopper’s Nighthawk. My thought was everyone knows Hopper. He’s big.

Jack then turned the page. The next page was Jack Baron and his black ladies.

Within two weeks, I purchased fourteen of Jack’s works. My Key West dining room was solely Jack Baron. His works all over the house.

I thought…..Am I going to make money! Someday.

Jack died 7-8 years ago. Unfortunately, the value of his paintings never went up. They went down. Dramatically.

I still love Jack and his paintings, however. I learned a lesson. One I have experienced many times in life and never seem to really learn: All that glitters is not gold.


I bought Sudafed for my cold. Interesting how it works.

The pill is non-drowsy. The last time I took a cold pill, there were no no-drowsys for sale. The pill knocked you on your ass. Today’s pill obviously much better.

The pill is good for four hours. Then almost immediately, the symptoms return. A negative.

I will stay home today and continue nursing myself.

The only item on the agenda is to write this week’s KONK Life column. Research completed. Ready to go. Title: A Late Night Diner. The story of Edward Hopper’s famous painting Nighthawks.

Getting sexy with the column. I will run a picture of the subject matter. A first time thing. It will be a picture of the Nighthawks painting. Most will immediately recognize the work.

Crazy weather. Yet, typical January. Problem is we are spoiled. Januarys have been great weatherwise the past four years. This January a tough one.

You live long enough in Key West, you develop your own sensors as to what the weather will be. For me, it is the two palm trees on my deck. Maybe a half dozen times a year, they bend northward. Means the wind is coming from the south. A guaranteed storm!

Yesterday, the palm tress were bending north, wind from the south. Actually, southwest. I noticed this when the sun was shining and the wind moderate.

There is a tornado out there somewhere. Came up on Florida from the southwest. The wind started in the middle of the night. Loud! Weather reports indicate gusts 39 miles per hour. This morning cloudy. The winds still at a good speed, though less than 39 mph.

Weather report says high today of 79. Terrific! However, tonight it will drop to 60 degrees. Cold! It will stay generally cold the rest of the week.

I feel bad for tourists who catch a bad week. All that money and they sit cuddled up somewhere trying to keep warm.

Syracuse beat Wake Forest decisively yesterday 83-55. Duke monday night.

Enjoy your Sunday!