Posted: 08 Mar 2021 09:30 AM PST

This morning a first. I am back to doing a normal blog. My first Greece trip has ended.

I enjoyed sharing the trip with you. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it. I received many favorable comments, except for one. A snowbird good friend. He was unhappy. He had followed it day by day 9 years ago and was bored with the repetition.

I returned to Greece the next year. I plan later this year in doing that trip. If any of you think you would not enjoy it, speak now or forever hold your peace.

I took about 600 photos of the trip. Never posted them. Sloan and I have been working on how to set them up, etc. In a week or two I will begin posting. Once a week. Eight to ten pics with some brief identifying information below. And not all 600. Not even close.

The reason I opted to run the first Greece trip again was because there was little to write about. Before coronavirus, I was out and about most evenings. There was much to report.

However, the virus has kept me self quarantined for more than a year now. Key West residents and visitors not available to me. Nor the Chart Room or any other bar.

Prior to the virus, I rarely wrote about politics and world happenings. Without Key West available, I was forced to write about those 2 areas.

An interesting observation. My readers have doubled with the changeover primarily to politics. I plan on mixing Key West and politics as soon as I am out again. I hope the new readers stay with me.

My second shot is March 27. I am told I should remain in self quarantine for another 2-3 weeks. Then ok to go out. However must wear a mask.

I can live with it.

An article in Newsmax 3/7 reported death row murderers would receive stimulus checks. Doesn’t sound right. However politics being what it is, you never know.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) was interviewed by Newsmax and shared the information.

Before my sharing it with you, let me make one thing clear. I fear Cotton and those of his breed. He is a far righter. Even worse a favorite of the moneyed Republicans we never hear about. He and his friends want him to run for Presidnet in 2024.

He is of the same ilk of Senator Hawley. Birds of a feather.

One thing that has been bothering me the past couple of years is that many of the new Republican faces are Harvard or Yale law graduates. These people receive the finest legal educations which for some reason I cannot fathom sets them off on a path even beyond Trump.

Cotton provided the following examples of death row murderers to receive stimulus checks.

Dylan Roof murdered 9 people. He is on federal death row.

The Boston Bomber Dzhokhor Tsarnaev who murdered 3 people and terrorized a city.

Aaron Shamo was sentenced to life for selling 1 million fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills to unsuspecting buyers.

What is the justification for providing death row murderers and those sentenced to life with the stimulus? For commissary use buying cigarettes, soda pop, and candy?

Florida COVID-19 vaccine shots chaos. Distribution still sucks in Florida.

A woman in Florida City stood in line for 5 hours with her 6 month baby and when reached was turned away on some technical reason. That same day, the Florida City sites were allowing people without appointments to be vaccinated.

Eligibility requirements were screwed up. Those providing the shots were not aware who could get a shot. Eligibility practiced in an uncertain fashion, and not properly so in most instances.

The Washington Post 3/4 reported living in Texas right now feels like an exercise in survival. Citizens are caught between the power failure and Governor Abbott opening Texas 100 percent beginning wednesday.

My adult life has been governed by the philosophy that every one must have a seat at the economic table. Not just the rich. Rich, middle class, and poor alike. Each must receive the benefits of the American economy. Not however must each earn an equal amount of money.

People must be able to afford to buy things like food, clothing, and shelter.

The U.S. minimum wage for years has been $7.25 an hour. Whether rich or poor, an insufficient amount to live on. I wonder what Senators and Representatives would do if they and their families had to live on $7.25 an hour.

NBC News recently said: “The world has changed.”

In addition to every one having a seat at the table, I have also believed that if not all are and some struggle, there will be revolt in order for people to survive economically. It is the story of history.

Today is International Woman’s Day. Biden will be signing an Executive Order establishing a Gender Policy Council within the White House. Its purpose to support gender equity and Title XI policies.

Equality wise women have risen dramatically over the years. What I have observed in my lifetime alone supports the premise.

The birth control pill had something to do with it. Gave women a sense of equality and protection. The feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s likewise.

Recall around 1970, the new cigarette Virginia Slims came out directed primarily at female purchasers. Its advertising slogan: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

While I was in law school in the late 1950s, there were only 2 women in my class. Today ladies make up more than half. The same is applicable to medical school graduates.

Female judges abound. Women gradually becoming CEOs of major corporations.

They may have come a long way, the ladies are going to go even further. It’s a new world!

International Woman’s day is not a new event. It was established by Clara Zetkio at an International Woman’s Conference in 1910 in Copenhagen.

My thought process has reached the point where I believe women should basically run the world. Men have for centuries and screwed it up. Let the ladies have a chance. They could not do worse and probably do better.

On this day in 1917, the Russian Revolution began.

International Woman’s Day had something to do with it.

The “February Revolution” as it is called, began over protests celebrating International Woman’s Day and riots in St. Petersburg over food rations and Russia’s involvement in World War I.

I have always found Russian history prior to, during and since 1917 interesting and exciting. Russian movies and novels have contributed to that interest and excitement.

I was fortunate while in college in the mid 1950s to take 2 courses taught by Alexander Kerensky. Kerensky was there in Russia as a prominent figure during the Russian Revolution.

At the beginning, there were 2 Russian factions. The Whites and Reds. The Whites first controlled the government. Not for long. Several months at the most.

Kerensky was the President of the White Bolsheviks. Lenin was a leader of the Red Bolsheviks. Lenin toppled Kerensky. Kerensky had to escape to save his life. He eventually ended up in the U.S.

The contrast between Lenin and Kerensky is interesting also. Probably why Lenin succeeded where Kerensky failed. Lenin came to power promising “peace, land and bread.” At a time Kerensky’s people were selling more efficient government and continued participation in World War I.

What a time in world history!

I live and learn. I seem to make that statement more frequently in recent years.

We all have heard the word misogynist. Represents men strongly prejudicial against women.

How many have heard the word misandrist. Represents hatred of men by women. The word rare. Its meaning I suspect prevalent.

Enjoy your day!


Posted: 07 Mar 2021 09:38 AM PST

Hope you enjoyed the George Clooney video. This portion of the blog will share some interesting items involving Stanley Tucci, Ernest Hemingway and George Clooney.

The three simply are interrelated by Italy.

I begin with Stanley Tucci.

An interesting movie actor. I thought his best performance was in Pravda.

Tucci spent a good portion of the past year filming a TV series involving Italian food. Food prepared and served as only Italy can. He traveled all over Italy enjoying the culinary artistry of the country’s various regions.

The show is titled Searching for Italy. I watched it for the first time last night.

A winner!

Tucci ended the show by having dinner on Lake Maggiore. A special place to enjoy for a vacation, a drink and/or dinner. I did all three more than once.

The Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees sits on the lake’s southern side facing the tiny Borromees islands and the Alps. Everything is the Alps in this part of Italy.

I was fortunate in my travels to visit the area 3-4 times.

In Tucci’s Italian food show last night, he was pictured visiting the Grand. Walking through the first floor itself and outside the back area of the Hotel where he was shown sitting at a small table enjoying a drink.

I was immediately excited. The Hotel was never referred to as the “world famous” Grand. It was, however. I could never forget.

The first time I stopped in for a drink, I initiated a conversation with the bartender. Probably 50. We got into Hemingway. He could see my interest. He called over a thin old man with white hair. The man moved slowly. Another 5 years and I will look like him.

He served Hemingway and Hemingway’s love at the time Agnes Kurwosky. He gave me the “Grand” Hemingway history. He was the bartender back in 1918 when Hemingway visited.

He advised the present bar was not the location of the bar Hemingway sat at. He took me to a small room in the back of he hotel. No bigger than 15′ by 15′. A storage room when I visited. Full of boxes and extra furniture.

The bar itself was gone. The room had only one window. He showed me where Hemingway sat so he could look directly out the window. As we walked he shared some Hemingway stories.

I was in all my glory!

He took me outside in teh back. A huge rolling lawn with an item of greenery here and there. Small white tables and chairs hee and there.

I had 2 drinks the first time. One at theh inside bar, the other outside in the back at a small white table. I imbibed whee Hemingway had done so. In the backyard where for sure, Hemingway first sat. Then Louis. Then Tucci.

It was World War I. Hemingway had joined the Italian ambulance service. The U.S. was not yet in the war. He joined when he was 18. He was seriously injured when 19 by a mortar shell which exploded next to him.

His injuries kept him confined to a hospital for 6 months. His nurse was an American. Agnes von Kurowsky. They fell in love while she cared for him.

Near the end of his convalescence, Hemingway was given a 10 day pass. He and Agnes spent 7 of those days at the Grand Hotel.

Hemingway fictionalized Agnes as Nurse Catherine Barkley inA Farewell to Arms.

Hemingway was 19 at the time. Agnes, 26. Hemingway was desperately in love with Agnes. He thought she with him. He received a Dear John letter when he was back in the States from Agnes who still was in Italy.

The only way to say it was he way it happened. Agnes dumped Hemingway for an Italian Duke or Count who was also a Lieutenant.

History casts Agnes as a status seeker.

The two never met again.

However, they were both in Key West at the same time on several occasions. Historians tell us Agnes knew Hemingway was in town each time. Hemingway did not know Agnes was living in Key West.

Agnes and her husband had moved to Key West in 1951. She worked at the public library for years. Even inadvertently, their paths did not cross.

After Hemingway’s death, his wife Mary came to Key West. She had been advised that a room in Sloppy Joe’s was stored with boxes of Hemingway’s writings, etc. when he left for Cuba.

Mary found many things. Some that turned out to be of significant value.

Among the items she found were Agnes’ letters to Hemingway.

Mary was aware Agnes was living in Key West. She visited Agnes and gave the letters to her. The two became friends and continued to visit.

Agnes left Key West in the 1960s. She told people she left because of the Conch Train. It became too much to hear “Ernie’s girl” lives here as it went by.

George Clooney never had anything to do with Hemingway. Their connection is both lived in Italy a portion of their lives. Hemingway during World War I. Clooney has lived in Italy for many years in a home near Lake Como.

I assume Tucci and Clooney know each other as both are actors.

I live and learn. Today, an impressive fact. More than half of the coastline of the entire U.S. is in Alaska.

Next another day on my First Time in Greece. Camogli again. The Italian Riviera was not hard to take.

DAY 42…..Greece the First Time

Posted on July 8, 2012 by Key West Lou

The honeymoon is over!

I return to Key West tomorrow. Monday, not Tuesday as I thought. Fortunately, Lisa picked up on my error. She Skyped me yesterday to tell me I was going to have missed my plane if I left Tuesday.

On a trip as I have experienced, days of the week and dates get screwed up. Intermingle. Are not important.

As a result of which, a person can miss a return flight home!

My today – Sunday – now changes. No Milan. No Leonardo Da Vinci. Instead rest and packing.

I am in Novara. Drove here from Camogli yesterday afternoon. A two hour drive. Thruways all the way.

Strange traffic for a summer Saturday afternoon. None. Just me and a few other cars.

It is the cost of gas and high road tolls here in Italy.

The other vehicles on the road all passed me at 125 miles per hour. Crazy!

The clothesline saga continues. Eevry town and hamlet I drove by…..there they were! Clothes hanging ouside windows and on front porches. Even here in Novara, a classy city.

Lisa Skyped me in the afterfnoon. Fortunately. Otherwise, I would have missed my plane tomorrow. Got to see and chat with the grandkids and son in law Corey. I could tell I am really missed. A nice feeling.

Last night was another birthday dinner. My Morrocan friend Miriam cooked for me. And several others as well. A dinner party.

We started with a good champagne. During dinner, Beefeater was substituted for me. A thoughtful gesture.

Pickies to begin. Too many to describe. All good.

Then humus. Not the kind you buy in the supermarket and scoop onto a plate. Miriam made the humus from scratrch. Ground the checi beans herself.

The entre was spiedini. Small pieces of beef on a stick. Miriam also prepared some sort of wheat dish mixed with very tiny pieces of tomato and covered with just enough oil.

There was a touch of Lebanese to the meal.

Miriam exceeded herself with the birthday cake. Made by her from scratch, also. A cheesecake covered with blueberries and gelato. Of course on top 77 candles. One big 70 years old one and 7 tiny one year ones.

Everyone sang Happy Birthday! Just like in the U.S.

I was pleased with it all. My special thanks to Miriam.

Today I have to get ready for tomorrow. I will leave Novara about 6 in the morning. I have a one hour drive to the Milan airport. Then many hours in the air till I set down in Key West just after 9 in the evening.

Enjoy your Sunday!

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now


Posted: 06 Mar 2021 06:04 AM PST

DAY 40…..Greece the First Time

Posted on July 6, 2012 by Key West Lou

Today is special.

It is my birthday.

Seventy seven years.

A long time. Who would have thought. I still remember my young years like yesterday.

My father recently passed on at 98. His father at 94. It appears the genes may be good. I hope.

The weather. I have not spoken of it in ages. Here in mid Italy, it is reported in the following fashion. There is a heat wave coming up from Africa. When the heat wave hits the Mediterranean, the humidity will increase. Rain is also expected coming down from the Alps.

I share the weather report so you can compare it with those in the U.S. Generally the same description wise. Only the names are different.

Yesterday, I finally made Portofino. It is as good as they say, if not better. Magnificent. Beautiful.

You can feel the wealth. Huge yachts. Smart people. High end clothing shops. Everything perfect. The buildings, boats and cafes neat and orderly.

Portofino appeared to me as if it were a finely mowed lawn. Perfection!

The private homes on the hillside equally magnificent. Obviously equally expensive. Terrific shrubbery. All neatly manicured.

The negative with Portofino is that it is too expensive. Outrageous price wise. I had a gin and tonic. Seventeen euros. Roughly $20 American money.

An ordinary millionaire could not afford to live in Portofino. It is only for the very very rich.

I took a cab to Portofino. Decided to treat myself well. The thought of a train and bus really did not excite me.

The cab cost 40 euro. Not bad for a 15-20 minute drive from one town to another. We had to go up one side of Mount Portofino and down the other.

The return trip was not as easy.

I figured I would take a cab back to Camogli. I went to the cab stand. Four cabs. All beautiful. BMWs and Mercedes.

I asked the fare back to Camogli. One hundred euros. I explained I had only paid 40 euros to get there. They did not care. The cab drivers were polite, but adamant. One hundred euros or stay in Portofino.

I sat down on a bench beneath a nearby tree. What to do? I really would have been pissed off if I had to go 100 euros.

Then I saw a sign. Bus stop. At that instance, the bus came. I got on and made sure it would take me to the metro railway station in St. Margery. I probably spelled the name wrong.

I was assured it would. The cost: 1.5 euros. A deal!

I enjoyed the ride. A large comfortable air conditioned bus. Many lovelies in the their bikinis.

The bus dropped me off in front of the metro station. I went in to the counter. A ticket to Camogli, please. Three euro. I bought it. So far I had spent a measly 4.5 euros to return to Camogli.

The person behind the counter told me to hurry. The train was just arriving. I ran out and got on. One stop later I was in Camogli.

The train dropped me off at the internet store I have been using each morning to do the blog. The streets beyond are blocked off. Only pedestrian traffic permitted. A shot walk and I was at my apartment.

On rising this morning, I watched a little TV. No English speaking channels. I came upon the Wizard of Oz. In Italian. However, the songs/singing were in English with Italian sub titles. The movie was easy to follow. I must have seen it a 100 times already.

I have been enjoying breakfast at a little cafe by the sea. Tiny inside. Three small tables outside. Rosalie, sometimes Rosalia, has been taking care of me. A short thin woman in her mid 50s.

I told her today was my birthday. I was 77 years old. She started pulling on my left ear lobe. Seventy seven times. For good luck. She said that was the Italian way.

I explained how we spank in the U.S. She thought that was strange. I did not tell her that pulling on my ear lobe 77 times was strange to me.

How will I spend the rest of my birthday? Anything special? I do not know. I will take today like every day. As it comes.

An observation. Middle aged and older women dress well in this area. Nice dresses, suits and hats. Looking at them is like viewing a fashion show. This is the Italian Riviera.

Enjoy your day!

The veneer is wearing off. With the Democrats in control, new faces are coming to the forefront. One obviously Joe Manchin.

I called it right! The man is on a power trip. Well aware how valuable one vote is to Senate Democrats.

He beat up his party and Biden. Finally got what he wanted. Which was minuscule in comparison to what he had been talking about and everyone anticipated him holding out for.

Then having succeeded in his power grab, he wasted another 10 hours of everyone’s time. No one, Democrat or Republican, understood what he was looking for. Even his cohort in the power game Arizona Senator Sinema.

Whatever, the game should be over today or tomorrow. The Senate will vote today. The Democrats will win what will be a party line vote. Then to Biden’s desk for signing.

Biden did well in this battle. He succeeded with what will be one of the most important new laws over the next 4 years. Imagine, a stimulus bill roughly $1.9 trillion. Worth it. Needed. It will take every dollar to help the unemployed and put this country back on its feet economically.

I view Biden’s success with the stimulus bill as significant as with Obama’s passage of Obama Care.

If you live in Key West. what I am about to relate will interest you. Elsewhere, I am not sure.

Termites and cockroaches are a Key West problem. We try to live in harmony with them.

Termites are expensive. A house tenting to get rid of them costs $4,000 to $5,000. For many homes, required every 10 years. Cockroaches handled by a person’s monthly bug control company.

I learned today that termites evolved from cockroaches 150 million years ago.

Difficult to believe, though I accept it as truth. The size of a termite compared to a cockroach is a thousands times different. Termites so tony in comparison to the 1-2 inch cockroach.

When it rains, it pours! Boeing can’t seem to get out of trouble.

Thursday, a 737 Boeing made an emergency landing after an engine shut down. The flight was Miami-Newark when the pilot shut down one engine over a possible mechanical issue.

The flight landed safely in Newark.

Enjoy your day!