I thought being alone for dinner this Christmas holiday was going to be a downer. Turned out not to be the case.

The food has been great. The Pope right on. Old TV movies exceptional. Interesting telephone calls with some I have not been in touch with in ages.

The food. So good I should be in solitary for a few more holidays.

Christmas Eve found me the chef. The filet mignon, as prepared by Louis, exceptional.

Christmas Day Lisa brought me left overs from her dinner the night before. For lunch, I had linguine with a great red sauce and Lisa’s home made Xmas cookies. Superior tasting.

Dinner last night were Maine lobster tails. Lisa went all out this Christmas. Outstanding! More Xmas cookies.

Today’s meals yet to come. Sloan my benefactor. She is due to arrive later this morning. Ham (cooked with the bone), potatoes and cobbler. My lunch.

Will begin tonight’s dinner with the rest of Lisa’s linguine. Followed by a shrimp dish specially prepared by Lisa. Tasted a couple cold. Different. Can’t wait to heat and try. Plus, Xmas cookies.

I suspect I will still have leftovers remaining from Lisa and Sloan to pick on over the next couple of days.

Not bad.

A frequent Commenter to the blog suggested I cook stone crabs. A special fit to Key West dining.

I love stone crabs! My favorite food. I have frequently commented over the years if I had a choice for a last meal, it would be stone crabs.

Stone crabs are common to our waters. The season runs 10/15-5/1. They are available to Key Westers all the time.

This season because of my COVID enforced incarceration, I have only had them once. Normally, once every 2-3 weeks.

The commenter suggested I cook stone crabs for New Year’s. No way then or ever.

They are so easy to purchase. Cooked, cold and shell skillfully crushed. Stone crabs can also be served warm. I had them, once. Do not recommend it. The flavor is gone.

I have enjoyed stone crabs so much over the years that on a few occasions I had frozen stone crabs flown from Key West to Utica. Invited 8-10 “lucky friends” and we pigged out.

Came across an interesting proverb this morning: “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” Proverbs 17:22.

Cold during the night again. High today will be only be 71. Which means cold. The rest of the week will be in the high 70’s.

I feel sorry for the tourists when the weather is not the best. They come for sun and fun.

They know how to make up for it, however. Pick a bar and remain at it all day into the night. Eat oysters and drink. Before long, you and everyone around you become one happy family. As it is under normal circumstances in Key West.

Some COVID updates.

Florida achieved new record numbers for thursday and friday last week. The data is based on information forwarded by the State to the CDC.

Thursday Florida reported 31,758 new cases, friday 32,850.

Florida’s one day previous high was 27,614 in August when delta swept the State.

Florida’s positivity rate rose also in the one week time frame by 13.8 percent. The top 4 counties contributing to the rise included in the #4 position Monroe County. Our County. Up 15.3 percent. Note even higher than the State’s increase.

The surge is here in Key West. At least for last week. Why was it not reported by local news outlets? I discovered the information on a Google news item which had nationwide coverage.

Whatever, we must thank Gov. DeSantis at the very least. He has been trying to keep infection information down. He fears the truth.

Though he discouraged vaccinations, it appears he himself might have received even the booster shot. He was interviewed on TV last week and asked twice if he had received a booster shot. Each time he weasled and failed to answer the question.

The surge is evident throughout the country. Hospitals are overburdened.

Two Maryland hospitals examples of the problem. Each has declared health care a “disaster” due to the rising coronavirus tide. The hospitals are the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health and the Hartford Memorial Hospital.

Between the two hospitals, COVID cases are up 458 percent thus far this month alone.

One hospital official said, “The demand for our services has outstripped our resources, which includes staffing.” He said “burnout” and “moral distress” are fueling the staff shortages.

Another administrator said and what I consider an important item in hospital overcrowding, “Between 75-80 percent of patients admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 infections have been unvaccinated.”

One of the regular doctors appearing on MSNBC is Vin Gupta. I have watched him for more than a year. His COVID reports clearly stated. He calls them as he sees them.

Dr. Gupta has called for hospitals to deny medical assistance and care to anyone who remains unvaccinated against COVID. He said, “Any unvaccinated person requiring medical attention should be last in line…..How do we rank – order that priority? We do it for organs, kidneys, livers, and lungs. We say ‘Did you smoke? Did you drink recently?’ If you did, you’re lower on the list even if you need it. We need to start thinking of that model.”

Back to Harry Truman again. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman.

The President died this day in 1972.

One of our greatest Presidents.

Key West and the President are closely allied because of Truman’s love for Key West. He spent 11 working vacations totaling 175 days in Key West while President.

Enjoy your day!


Posted: 25 Dec 2021 06:59 AM PST

I was alone last night. Fear of COVID kept me in. Rather than a sandwich, I wanted a meal. Something special.

I decided to prepare the meal myself.

I have been a bachelor for 15 years. Never did real cooking before the divorce nor since. If it can’t be microwaved or fried, I do not cook.

Decided to go for it last night.

Bought a filet mignon and frozen hash brown potatoes.

The oven was out of the question. Four years in this house and still have not used it. Needs a cleaning besides.

Tidbits of cooking wisdom have come to me this past year from Cocktails at Seven’s Cathy in Seattle. I went to cooking school with her yesterday afternoon.

Ok to pan fry the steak. A bit of oil and enough butter to to cover a piece of toast. Mix together while heating. Then comes the steak.

I read on the internet that medium was 130 degrees. I bought a thermometer. Cooking time 2-3 minutes a side.

Followed instructions precisely.

In spite of being my first self cooked meal, it was terrific. Not the 7 fishes. An excellent substitute, however.

I saved a considerable amount of money also. A filet mignon in any of the finer Key West restaurants runs in the $60-70 range. With the hash browns costing extra.

Though I drink no more, I even enjoyed a Beefeaters on the rocks before dinner.

Dessert was to be ice cream. Too full.

Opted for a cup of tea and…..You’re not going to believe this. I love Oreos. I enjoyed 4 Oreos with the tea.

I was proud of myself. Cathy was proud of me.

I will eat well again today. Lisa is dropping off last night’s meal. One item was Maine lobster. I shall enjoy cold Maine lobster tail and whatever she brings over.

I wanted to watch Midnight Mass on TV. Stayed awake. Watched Pope Francis celebrating Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s.

The mass well done this year. Francis obviously did the entire service in Latin. There was a soft spoken translator a few seconds behind him who softly translated Francis’ words into English. Made a huge difference in watching.

One negative, however. I have been doing midnight masses since I was in late grammar school. All long. Last night’s seemed extra long. The service took 1 hour 15 minutes.

The Citizens’ Voice spoke this morning: “Wow! Had a chance to go to Marathon and gas is $3.35 everywhere. Key West is 30 percent more and so close.”

I have found even where there is no gas shortage, Key West is significantly more expensive than the rest of the Keys till Florida City is hit.

New York Times columnist Eugene Robinson recently described the January 6 attackers as “an organized rabble.” Fitting words.

Robinson and his wife generally spend the month of January in Key West. I hope they are here again in the new year. Robinson walks around town. Talks with everyone. Gives some lectures. His wife is an artist. She spends a month painting at Studios of Key West.

I left home a few days ago for a manicure and pedicure at Tammy’s. Wore two masks to be safe.

A 40ish woman came in. Well known to Tammy and her husband Rick. She was near me. She told Rick she had 2 Moderna shots and Pfizer for a booster. She came down with COVID. Said it was no big deal and passed after a few days.

I get more confused each day. Three shots and people still are getting infected. Not complaining nor being critical. Merely making an observation. The virus overall is new and the whole world is fighting it like hell. Eventually the wonders of modern science will have the problem under control.

Just the News reported on an article CNBC carried on tuesday re fraud involving pandemic relief funds: “Nearly $100 billion has been stolen from pandemic relief funds, according to the Secret Service.”

Stolen money diverted from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and a third program created to issue unemployment assistance funds.

So far over $2.3 billion has been recovered. Roughly 100 persons have been arrested.

The government has released $3.5 trillion in COVID-19 relief money since the pandemic began in early 2020.

The Secret Service reported a new national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator has been appointed to oversee the agency.

The new coordinator is Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson. He told CNBC: “I’ve been in law enforcement for over 29 years and worked some complex fraud investigations for 20 plus years, and I’ve never seen something at this scale.”

Repeating myself again, Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman.

Over the years, I have read many books on Harry Truman. Some were clear that Bess was a difficult woman. She made Harry’s life miserable on many the occasion.

Some have described her as a “mean lady.” The President called her “boss.”

Bess wanted to know everything going on in Truman’s work, both before the Presidency and after. She considered herself an unofficial adviser to her husband. Their relationship developed to where Bess reviewed and commented on Harry’s work at the end of every day.

Daughter Margaret Truman wrote a book about her mother titled: Bess W. Truman. One portion involved her father’s order to drop the atom bomb. The news took Bess by surprise. Her husband had not shared it with her beforehand.

Margaret reported this made her mother feel like “a spectator rather than a partner in Harry Truman’s Presidency. That made her very, very angry.”

She immediately packed her bags and went back to Independence.

Margaret indicated her mother felt “she should have known about Harry’s decision to drop the bomb.”

Even President’s have marital woes.

Bess was Anti-semitic.

In 1961, David Susskind conducted a series of interviews with the former President in Independence. Susskind picked the President up every morning at his home and drove him to the Truman Presidential Library for several days.

Susskind asked the President why he had not been invited into Truman’s home. Truman replied: “This is Bess’s home” and there had never been nor would there ever be “a Jewish guest” in the house.

Enjoy your Christmas day!

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