Finally met Barb last night. Iowa Barb. A devout blog reader. She had written she would be visiting Key West and wanted to meet. Also wanted me to sign her copy of Irma and Me.

We finally got together last night at the Chart Room.

Barb a charming woman. She has been a librarian for 39 years at the Iowa State University Library. Has visited Key West 9 times in the past 10 years. Loves Key West! Knows her way around.

Interested in politics. Dislikes Trump. Understandable. Her father was a Teamster for years.

Her sister Debbie with her. Debbie’s first Key West visit. She is the Cambridge, Iowa City Clerk. Made sure to tell me her politics were different from her sister’s. Debbie a black hearted Republican.

I had not planned on going out last night. Spent the afternoon researching for this week’s KONK Life column. Rudy Giuliani’s recent comments about Stormy Daniels motivated me to look up Giuliani’s sex history. People in glass houses should not throw stones.

My intent was to write the column last night. It has to be to the publisher today.

John called and said a Barb was looking for me. Would I come down? Ergo, I will not be writing about Giuliani and his sexcapades till this afternoon.

My today a busy one. Have to finish the blog. Watch Robert in a tennis competition at one. Write the Giuliani column.

I definitely will not be going out tonight.

Dorothy Downs was at the bar. I have not seen her in a couple of years. Her husband was a dentist. He had an office in Miami and one in the Keys. They frequented the Chart Room often.

Dorothy told he her husband had passed away last year. Sad.

We talked at length. I learned more about her last night than in all the times we had met previously.

She is a writer. Five books. Dorothy is an art historian, specialist in American art, wrote and produced the PBS documentary Pillars of Power about Seminole and Miccosukee women.

Dorothy’s most recent book is Canoe Back In Time. The story of a special Miccosukee girl who was given the gift of being an artist.

The book is selling.

My handwriting is poor. Dorothy’s worse. She wrote down her e-mail address for me. Impossible to read. Dorothy, you have mine. Write me soon so I will have yours.

Three pirates came in. Two men and a woman. One of the guys was soon asleep head down on a table. They had been doing the Duval Crawl.

I spoke with the two sober ones. Explained I had recently written about the pirate Black Caesar and also the pirates of Port Royal.

The three were part of a pirate group. A nightly thing in Key West. Called Eat Drink Discover Key West. An eat and drink venture.

Sounds interesting. If you are, the group can be booked online at

Everyone was gone, except for Kevin and me. We chatted a while. He is recovering well from his horrendous accident.

Needed to eat. Stopped at Hogfish on the way home. Sat at the bar and enjoyed hogfish. What else!

It began pouring on the way to Hogfish. Continued raining when I left. Fortunately, I am always prepared for rain. Two umbrellas. One at home and one in the car. Large black ones.

A BOB comment about waking in Key West: “A cat fight has set off the dogs. The dogs have set off the roosters. The din moves back and forth across the island in waves. Human sounds join in. There is no way anyone is sleeping through this, that’s it, I’m awake… looks like a nice day. Another beautiful day in Paradise.”

The Belmont later today. Hope Justify wins.

Trump’s words yesterday re his summit meeting with Kim and the degree of his preparation: “I’ve prepared my entire life for the North Korea summit.”

I worry.

Trump is on a high. He has screwed up G7. He is on his way to meet with Kim. He figures the world and the Nobel Peace Prize are his if he succeeds with Kim.

I do not see it happening.

Weather around 90 this past week. Heavy humidity. Weather man says some thunder today. Describes it as “rock ‘n’ roll thunder.”

As Porky Pig was wont to say at the end of his cartoons of yesteryear…..That’s all folks!

Enjoy your day!



History records many famous sea battles. Samalis (480 B.C.), Defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), Trafalgar (1805), and Midway (1942) amongst others. Not mentioned however is Key West’s Great Sea Battle (1982).

Important to the Florida Keys. A battle for independence. Resulted in the birth of the Conch Republic.

The Great Sea Battle is reenacted every year. In April. This year, tonight. The forces of the Conch Republic meet those of the United States. A sea battle like no other.

Involved on the side of the United States are Naval jet fighters and Coast Guard vessels. For the Conch Republic, World War I bi-planes and pirate ships.

Bombs from the World War I bi-planes will be dropped on the Coast Guard vessels. The bombs, rolls of toilet paper. A sight to behold as they flutter downward continually opening. Conch bi-planes will also engage the Navy jet fighters.

On the sea, two pirate ships will appear on behalf of the Conch Republic. Maned by pirates and their wenches. Dressed appropriately. The wenches all young and beautiful.

The pirate ships will attack the Coast Guard vessels with rotten cabbage heads, tomatoes and eggs. The pirate ships will also be equipped with large hoses from which they will spray the Coast Guard with ocean water.

The best show in town! The Best Key West has to offer! Exciting!

The Battle takes place on the Gulf side of Key West off Schooner Wharf. Thousands lined up all along the shore line watching.

Firefighters from near and far are to be complimented in how they have been battling the Big Pine fire. The fire began sunday.

Covers 100 acres. A tough fire. Sixty percent under control as of today. The fire at this point considered minimal. Hot spots being moped up and defensive space around homes and structures being created.

A 65 year old war ended. North Korea and South Korea signed a peace pact. Unquestionably historic.

I was in the last three years of high school during the war. Had it not ended as a practical manner when it did in 1953, I would have been drafted. My life thereafter would have been different.

The U.S. Marine Hymn…..From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.

On this day in 1805, the Marines were in Derna. Derna a part of Tripoli. Tripoli had been testing the mettle of the new  U.S.

Pirates from the Barbary Coast had been capturing American sailors and charging the U.S. high ransom for their return. The Marines were sent to resolve the situation, teach a lesson, etc.

They did their job. In so doing, deposed the ruler and replaced him with one sympathetic to the U.S.

Student loans. A guarantee for most of a lifetime of debt.

A foremost expert on the subject of student loans has been Drew Cloud. His writings have appeared in major news outlets, including The Washington Post and CNBC.

Cloud the informed person with advice to students with college debt. Portending to be an advocate for their financial well being.

One problem. Recently discovered. There is no Drew Cloud. He does not exist. A phony.

The Student Law Report is affiliated with lenders who loan to students. “Drew Cloud” articles, etc. were prepared by any staff person available.

Students getting screwed by those they thought were helping them.

Trump is running America into the ground as he did with his businesses. Along the way, he is causing the U.S. to lose face.

Bidding for the 2026 World Cup is in process. Two bidders. A joint bid by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. A bid by Morocco.

Trump tweeted wednesday that countries we support should support us in this bid. Tweeting, “Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?”

A bully and an asshole. Sorry, I cannot describe him any other way. Tiny Morocco being stepped on by the big and mighty U.S. Other nations being stepped on also.

Interestingly, French President Marcon was in the U.S. this week for a state visit. He and Trump were all over each other. Pawing. Showing affection for each other. Buddies.

France has announced it is supporting Morocco.

Enjoy your day!






Pirates of old are well known. Their names having come down to us through the ages.

On the male side are William Kidd, Blackbeard, Black Bart, Long Ben, and Sir Henry Morgan. All notorious.

The female side not neglected. Women like Anne Bonny, Mary Reed, Grace O’Malley, and Rachel Wall. Each as tough as their male counterparts.

There is one additional noteworthy female pirate. A woman whose name is unknown to most. Perhaps because she was Chinese and ruled the China Sea. As opposed to Caribbean, Atlantic and European shores.

Her name Cheng I Sao.

I discovered in researching Cheng I Sao that the names of Chinese women change during the course of a life time for various reasons. Cheng I Sao was known by different names at various times in her life.

Cheng I Sao was born Shi Xianggu. At a young age, she became a Cantonese prostitute. Her prostitute name Shih Yang. She worked in a brothel, never the streets.

In 1801 while a teenage beauty, she was captured by pirates. The leader of the pirates was the notorious Cheng I.

Cheng I was looking over the female captives which included Shih Yang. He was deciding which to keep for his men and which to sell into slavery. For whatever reason, Shih Yang attacked Cheng I. She tried to scratch his eyes out.

Shih Yang made an impression on Cheng I. He loved not only her beauty, but also her aggressiveness.

Shih Yang was one smart female, regardless of her age. Cheng I fell in love with her.  Wanted to marry her.  Shih Yang was hesitant. She had a price. Her terms were that she would share in his booty on an equal fifty/fifty basis. She would share similarly in authority.

Cheng I was in love. He agreed.

Shih Yang became known as Ching Sish.

Cheng I lived up to his part of the bargain. Ching Sish became a known and feared pirate leader.

Cheng I was strong and assertive. Rather than fight each other, he thought the pirates should unite. One fleet. The enemy henceforth being the Chinese, British, Portuguese, and Dutch.

Everyone agreed. An alliance was formed. Named the Red Flag Fleet. Instantaneously, the most powerful pirate fleet in China.

Cheung Po Tasi was the son of a fisherman. He was forced into piracy at 15 when captured by Cheng I. Cheng I liked him and adopted him. Cheung rose in the ranks. He was a detail man. Both Cheng I and Ching Sish left the everyday operations of the Red Flag Fleet to him.

Cheng I died in 1807. Of unknown causes.


The Red Flag Fleet pirates met to select a new leader. Ching Sish brazenly walked into the gathering. Dressed spectacularly. Brash and assertive. She convinced the pirates gathered that she should be leader.

Her leadership from that point forward was never questioned.

Her cunning and ruthless leadership resulted in the Red Flag Fleet growing to over 400 Chinese 20 gun junks. Pirates to 30,000.

She used intimacy to gain her ends. She and the adopted son Cheung Po Tsai became lovers. Subsequently married.

Along the way, Ching Sish’s name had become Cheng I Sao.

In the three years following her first husband’s death, Cheng I Sao became the most prominent and successful pirate in the China Sea. She whipped the ships of every nation. Never lost a battle.

In one fight against the Chinese, she captured 63 Chinese Navy vessels. She gave the captured Chinese sailors a choice. They could join her or die. Death was by being tied down on the deck and beaten with clubs.

China was controlled at the time by the Qing Dynasty. Also known as the Manchu Dynasty.

Cheng I Sao terrorized the China Sea. An armada of Chinese, British and Dutch ships was sent out to defeat her. She whipped their asses.

Commercial shipping was taking a beating. The Chinese, British, Portuguese and Dutch were suffering economically as a result. The Chinese government especially had to do something. Even if extreme.

They made Cheng I Sao an offer she could not refuse. She and her pirates would be given general amnesty. They would also be permitted to keep all the loot pirated.

Cheng I Sao was no fool. She accepted.

Cheng I Sao retired. Bought herself a brothel/casino. She was the madam.

She remarried. Gave birth to several children. Died of old age at 69. Not from a gallow as most pirates.

There are two reasons attributed for her success.

The first her cunning and ruthlessness fired by her desire to be the most feared pirate in history.

The second had to do with sex.

Cheng I Sao prepared a written set of laws to be followed by she and her pirates. Known as the Code. It covered the obligations and responsibilities of her to the pirates and vice versa. Distribution of booty and the treatment of captured women were included.

Cheng I Sao was a feminist. Probably the world’s first. Captive women not sold were either married or partnered with one of the pirates. A pirate could only have sex with his wife or partner. If otherwise, the pirate lost his head.


If a pirate had consensual sex with a captive, he was beheaded. The woman was not to be denied. She had cannonballs attached to her ankles and was thrown overboard.

Sensual deprivation was part and parcel of Cheng I Sao’s plan. She believed that sexual frustration made her men better fighters. Eager to take out their aggressions on the enemy. The harder they fought, the more successful she and they would be.

She appears to have been correct.

For various other offenses, the wrongdoer was flogged, quartered or had his ears chopped off.

In modern day, we have seen movies involving Blackbeard, William Kidd, Sir Henry Morgan, Anne Bonny, Mary Reed, Rachel Wall, and others. Never  Cheng I Sao. With one exception.

The film the popular Disney movie franchise Pirates of the Caribbean. Cheng I Sao is portrayed as the powerful pirate Mistress Ching, one of the nine Pirate Lords.