A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 77-year-old man and his family, friends, and the characters that he has met along the way . . .

These “Happy Gators” were filmed by me on The Anhinga Trail in The Everglades National Park

HURRICANE TRIOLOGYA HURRICANE TRIOLOGY

HURRICANE WILMA struck Florida 9 years ago on October 24, 2005.  It was the final blow to occur in the destruction of the Flamingo Marina and Outpost Resort.  The Outpost Resort consisted of 3 one-story and 2 two-story concrete buildings (a total of 103 guest rooms plus the administrative offices) and 26 free-standing cottages (13 wooden duplexes).  These facilities were completely destroyed; wiped off the face of the earth, along with almost everything in the area, including two restaurants, a gift shop, a marina, maintenance shops and the employee housing area.  The concessionaire for this operation, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, usually housed a skeleton staff of about 45 or 50 employees during the slow season and up to about 150 during the peak of the winter season.  Housing consisted of 4 wooden dormitories, 2 newer concrete dorms, a fantastic fishing pier, a recreational building, several company owned old mobile homes, and parking for about 25 employee-owned RV’s.  All that remained after WILMA was the two-story concrete visitor’s center and the Marina Store and two buildings in the maintenance area (although theses building were severely damaged).  Fortunately all employees on sight were successfully evacuated prior to the arrival of the storm and no lives were lost. On June 6, 2010, I wrote “An Epitaph to the Flamingo Marina and Outpost Resort” which can still be found on this blog (thesumofme2.wordpress.com).  HOWEVER, the actual destruction of the resort began with Hurricane KATRINA in August of 2005.  It was the 5th deadliest hurricane in US history – and the 7th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded with winds up to 175mph.  Although Flamingo did not receive a direct hit from Katrina the resort did incur considerable damage.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina).   Katrina struck the Flamingo Resort on August 28, 2005 (see below photos)

Katrina Photos HOUSING 9 Marina 5 MARINA 47 MARINA 50 REC HALL 6 VIEW BACK OF 252 TO 240

  Then Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico, and came ashore again around Punta Gorda, Florida.  It then marched up the Peace River to Arcadia, Florida, destroying almost everything in its path.  I lived in Palm Harbor, Florida, then.  As I began the 98 mile drive to Arcadia after the storm, everything seemed normal for a while.  Then, as I turned off of US19 onto US70 and headed SW toward Arcadia the country side revealed the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.  Mile after mile I drove by telephone poles that had been snapped in half and shredded like toothpicks.  Beautiful old Live Oak Trees had been uprooted and tossed aside like toys.  As I approached the city of Arcadia, clean-up was already in progress, and torn and shredded aluminum siding from the vast number of mobile homes that made up a great part of this  communities residences was already piled about 20’ high in one storage lot.  (Pictures from the Cross Creek RV Park in Arcadia, Florida – where my cousin kept a 5-wheel RV, and of the children’s playground at the Myakka River State Park appear below).

Arcadia after Katrina 567 OVERTURNED RV2 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM2 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM4 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM5 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM6 CROSS CREEK UNKNOWN VICTIM Myaka River Park FL 70 Myaka River Park Pavillion FL 70 Myaka River Park Playground FL 70

Katrina was followed by Rita.  With winds up to 177mpg, Rita was the 4th most intensive Atlantic hurricane to ever hit the United States (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Rita).  Rita passed through the Florida Straights on September 26, 2005, on its way to Texas.  Since Rita did not pass directly over Flamingo the resort was spared any noticeable damage.  However, torrential rains continued to weaken the already damaged resort. Rita was followed by Wilma, the most intense Tropical Cyclone to ever be recorded in the Atlantic Basin, with winds up to 185mpg.  Although the eye of Wilma did not pass directly over the Flamingo resort, it passed over nearby Cape Romano with 120mph winds.  That was all it would take to complete the destruction of one of my favorite places on earth; a place that I fished with my family in 1947 and where I lived and worked from May of 1996 to September 2002.

Wilma, The Final BLow HU94D8~1 HU94E6~1 HURRICANE WILMA 001 HURRICANE WILMA 002 HURRICANE WILMA 003 HURRICANE WILMA 004 HURRICANE WILMA 005 HURRICANE WILMA 006 HURRICANE WILMA 007 HURRICANE WILMA 008 HURRICANE WILMA 009 HURRICANE WILMA 010 HURRICANE WILMA 011 HURRICANE WILMA 012 HURRICANE WILMA 013 HURRICANE WILMA 014 HURRICANE WILMA 015 HURRICANE WILMA 016 HURRICANE WILMA 017 HURRICANE WILMA 018 HURRICANE WILMA 019 HURRICANE WILMA 020 HURRICANE WILMA 021 HURRICANE WILMA 022 HURRICANE WILMA 023 HURRICANE WILMA 024 HURRICANE WILMA 025 HURRICANE WILMA 026 HURRICANE WILMA 027 HURRICANE WILMA 028 HURRICANE WILMA 029 HURRICANE WILMA 030 HURRICANE WILMA 031 HURRICANE WILMA 032 HURRICANE WILMA 033 HURRICANE WILMA 034 HURRICANE WILMA 035 HURRICANE WILMA 036 HURRICANE WILMA 037 HURRICANE WILMA 038 HURRICANE WILMA 039 HURRICANE WILMA 040 HURRICANE WILMA 041 HURRICANE WILMA 042 HURRICANE WILMA 043 HURRICANE WILMA 044 HURRICANE WILMA 048 HURRICANE WILMA 049 HURRICANE WILMA 050 HURRICANE WILMA 053 HURRICANE WILMA 054 HURRICANE WILMA 055 HURRICANE WILMA 056 HURRICANE WILMA 057 HURRICANE WILMA 058 HURRICANE WILMA 059 HURRICANE WILMA 060 HURRICANE WILMA 061 HURRICANE WILMA 062 HURRICANE WILMA 063 HURRICANE WILMA 064 HURRICANE WILMA 065 HURRICANE WILMA 066 HURRICANE WILMA 067 HURRICANE WILMA 068 HURRICANE WILMA 069 HURRICANE WILMA 070 HURRICANE WILMA 071 HURRICANE WILMA 072 HURRICANE WILMA 073 HURRICANE WILMA 074 HURRICANE WILMA 075 HURRICANE WILMA 076 HURRICANE WILMA 077 HURRICANE WILMA 078 HURRICANE WILMA 079 HURRICANE WILMA 080 HURRICANE WILMA 081 HURRICANE WILMA 082 HURRICANE WILMA 083 HURRICANE WILMA 084 HURRICANE WILMA 085 HURRICANE WILMA 086 HURRICANE WILMA 087 HURRICANE WILMA 088 HURRICANE WILMA 089 HURRICANE WILMA 090 HURRICANE WILMA 091 HURRICANE WILMA 092 HURRICANE WILMA 093 HURRICANE WILMA 094 HURRICANE WILMA 095 HURRICANE WILMA 096 HURRICANE WILMA 097 HURRICANE WILMA 098 HURRICANE WILMA 099 HURRICANE WILMA 100 HURRICANE WILMA 101 HURRICANE WILMA 102 HURRICANE WILMA 103 HURRICANE WILMA 104 HURRICANE WILMA 105 HURRICANE WILMA 106 HURRICANE WILMA 107 HURRICANE WILMA 108 HURRICANE WILMA 109 HURRICANE WILMA 110 HURRICANE WILMA 111 HURRICANE WILMA 112 HURRICANE WILMA 113 HURRICANE WILMA 114 HURRICANE WILMA 115 HURRICANE WILMA 116 HURRICANE WILMA 117 HURRICANE WILMA 118 HURRICANE WILMA 119 HURRICANE WILMA 120 HURRICANE WILMA 121 HURRICANE WILMA 122 HURRICANE WILMA 123

With great sorrow and regret, THE END!

(To the best of my knowledge, all of the photographs of Flamingo that are included in this blog were taken by the then General Manager  and late Peter Hulse * and forwarded to me by Jennifer Huber) except for those taken in Arcadia (by me).

In November of 2013, I posted this information under the heading, “WHY ARE WE GIVING PALESTINE ANOTHER USD$75MM?”

WHY ARE WE GIVING PALESTINE ANOTHER USD$75MM WHEN OUR COUNTRY IS BORDERING ON BANKRUPTCY AND, ACCORDING TO THE 2012 U.S. CENSUS, 15% OF OUR OWN POPULATION (46.5 MILLION PEOPLE) ARE LIVING IN POVERTY (see below).

Today, March 3,2014, Secretary of State, John Kerry, made the following promised in Kiev:  In a demonstration of support for Ukraine’s fledgling government and a new swipe at Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev on Tuesday with an offer of $1 billion in an American loan guarantee and pledges of technical assistance.

“The centerpiece of the American aid package is the $1 billion loan guarantee, which is intended to cushion Ukrainian households as the new government undertakes the wrenching economic changes demanded by the International Monetary Fund and contends with the reduction of energy subsidies from Russia, which has challenged the new government’s legitimacy and occupied the Crimean Peninsula.”  

(Quoted from:  https://www.google.com/search?q=Secretary+of+State+John+Kerry+in+Ukraine&rlz=1C1CHMO_enUS558US558&oq=secretary&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j69i59j0l4.4249j0j8&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8

WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM?  Don’t we need to cushion our own households and resolve our own wrenching economic conditions, and, in the case of the money going to Palestine, don’t  we need to improve our own roads, schools and other infrastructure???

Is this guy a loose cannon, or what?

(AND 11.3 MILLION OF OUR PEOPLE WERE STILL UNEMPLOYED AS OF SEPTEMBER, 2013 ACCORDING TO THE U S DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf).

(http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/)?

Well, According to the Associated Press, Secretary of State, John Kerry announced Wednesday that the United States will provide an additional $75 million in aid to create Palestinian jobs and help them improve roads, schools and other infrastructure. However, U.S. officials say the aid is designed to boost Palestinian public support for faltering peace talks with Israel by showing them tangible benefits from the process
(http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/06/21332498-grappling-with-troubled-peace-process-kerry-urges-israeli-settlement-limits).

With this additional USD$75MM, OUR government will now be giving a total of $100,000,000.00 to Palestine. WHILE I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS THIS IS SAD NEWS AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED; WE NEED THAT MONEY TO HELP OUR OWN PEOPLE!!!

WHY ARE WE GIVING PALESTINE ANOTHER USD$75MM WHEN OUR COUNTRY IS BORDERING ON BANKRUPTCY AND, ACCORDING TO THE 2012 U.S. CENSUS, 15% OF OUR OWN POPULATION (46.5 MILLION PEOPLE) ARE LIVING IN POVERTY

(AND 11.3 MILLION OF OUR PEOPLE WERE STILL UNEMPLOYED AS OF SEPTEMBER, 2013 ACCORDING TO THE U S DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf).

(http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/)?

Well, According to the Associated Press, Secretary of State, John Kerry announced Wednesday that the United States will provide an additional $75 million in aid to create Palestinian jobs and help them improve roads, schools and other infrastructure. However, U.S. officials say the aid is designed to boost Palestinian public support for faltering peace talks with Israel by showing them tangible benefits from the process
(http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/06/21332498-grappling-with-troubled-peace-process-kerry-urges-israeli-settlement-limits).

With this additional USD$75MM, OUR government will now be giving a total of $100,000,000.00 to Palestine. WHILE I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS THIS IS SAD NEWS AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED; WE NEED THAT MONEY TO HELP OUR OWN PEOPLE!!!

Read the rest of this entry »

Government+Closed

The Speaker of the House is paid $223,500.00 annually, and the House Majority and Minority Leaders and the President Pro Tempore are each paid $193,400 yearly; the rest of the gang, poor souls, only receive $174,00.00.

Did you know that they receive mileage from their home to Washington, DC?  The minimum amount paid for this benefit is $6,200.00!  (Is that for every time they travel to DC? I’m not sure, but I bet they do)!

THAT IS WHAT THOSE S.*.*.’s WHO JUST SHUT DOWN OUR GOVERNMENT AND PUT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE OUT OF WORK EARNS, AND THIS INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND IN http://www.nolabels.org/blog/congressional-compensation-how-much-do-members-congress-get-paid AND IT IS VERIFIED IN JANUARY, 2013, BY: http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid=’0E%2C*PL%5B%3D%23P%20%20%0A

AND I JUST HEARD ON THE NEWS A FEW MINUTES AGO THAT ALTHOUGH SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS WILL STILL BE SENT OUT, THEY MAY BE SENT OUT TWO WEEKS LATE IN NOVEMBER!

It is my personal opinion that the pay and benefits to all of those representatives that voted to shut down our government be suspended immediately and until our government is restarted – and I hope that all of you who read this feel the same way!!!

(Photo from:  http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/09/government-shutdown-could-come-in-only-five-days-2775592.html)

ARE FOODS THAT CONTAIN GMOs SAFE TO EAT?

While listening to NBC News, Channel 8, in Tampa Bay this afternoon a discussion about whether or not foods containing GMOs are safe to eat caught my attention.   The commentator mentioned the five worst foods containing GMOs just before signing off, but moments later I could only recall 4 of them:  Corn, Soybeans, Canola Oil, and Sugar.  This caused me to go online to see if I could identify the fifth worst food.  That’s when I discovered how much confusion really exists today on this subject.  It does appear that most opponents of GMO foods would also include Papayas, dairy products, tomatoes, and zucchini and yellow squash in the worst GMO foods list, but the list can go on and on.

Being 76 years old I don’t think I need to worry about dying because I ate foods containing genetically modified organisms, however, I really do not like the idea of eating something that a worm will not eat!  When I was just a little kid growing up on a farm in English Creek, New Jersey, we raised and sold corn.   In those days, the corn was so sweet Corn Earworms attacked the ears of corn and one could almost always find one or more gnawing away at the small kernels just under the silk at the top of the vegetable when it was husked.  Nobody was upset by this; one just hacked off the top of the ear of corn, or cut out the part that was ruined by the worm.  This was a common practice in those days.  NOW that corn is being treated with GMOs even the worms won’t eat it!

One of the biggest issues concerning foods containing GMOs appears to be whether or not mandatory labeling should be required.  I found an excellent article regarding this subject, posted on October 17, 2012, in the Huffington Post. It is well worth reading:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-j-cederquist-md/prop-37-california_b_1971259.html.  While it seems that the issue of labeling may also go on and on, I think I have a simple solution to this problem.  Rather than have growers and packers explain on a label what GMOs are contained in their product, why not simply label the food that does not contain genetically modified organisms?  Perhaps something like this:

GMO FREE LABEL 001

Please remember, we are not only dealing with foods like those listed above when it comes to GMOs.  We also have FRANKENFISH, and who knows what else!  This information comes from an article posted in MSN News in May, 2013:

“Just in time for salmon season, the Food and Drug Administration is on the verge of approving genetically modified salmon, dubbed “frankenfish” by some and considered a wunderfish by others.

The salmon would be the first-ever transgenic animal (one that carries a foreign gene that has been inserted into its DNA) to be available to both U.S. and world consumers. It looks like any other salmon, but there is a definite twist.

Exacerbating criticism, current laws and initial reports suggest the fish would not be required to be labeled, a point the FDA has not yet determined. “A decision has not yet been made regarding labeling for AquAdvantage Salmon,” an FDA spokeswoman told MSN News last week.”

“. . . Detractors claim that the FDA, scientific and agency reviews fall short, and that there are several lingering health and environmental issues associated with the genetically modified (or GM) salmon. Environmentalists are concerned that AquAdvantage fish will escape and reproduce, threatening the wild population. Food safety and health activist groups feel that current testing can’t rule out unknown risks to human health. The Organic Consumers Union claims that AquAdvantage contains elevated levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.”

http://news.msn.com/science-technology/gmo-salmon-debate-frankenfish-or-wunderfish?stay=1

WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR DINNER LAST NIGHT?

Southern Fried Mullet

Black Mullet April 21 2013 002

It has been said that one cannot catch mullet on a hook, and that one cannot catch mullet on fish bait.  I grew up knowing that one could catch mullet, in Florida’s fresh water canals, on a small hook baited with little balls of bread dough.  That was taught to me by a Seminole Indian lady (she was in fact, my stepfather’s mother).  However, until last year I truly believed that one could not catch mullet on a hook baited with anything other than bread; that is, until I caught a 3 lb Black Mullet on a small hook baited with dead shrimp last year in the salt water canal behind my home.

Mullet graze along the bottom of the bays and canals and they primarily eat weeds, plants, and algae.  However, after considerable research, I determined that mullet – especially large ones – will eat almost anything that gets in the way of their mouth, including bits of shrimp and guppies  (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_do_mullets_eat).  I know this because I caught another one today on a tiny hook baited with a piece of shrimp; a 3.14 pound Black Mullet, according to Roland Martin’s length and girth formula.  This one was 18.5″ long and had a girth of 11″ (a fat and strong one that put up a really good fight on the micro spinning tackle that I use to catch live bait)!

Black Mullet April 21 2013 003

Mullet are not considered to be good food fare according to most people, and I tend to agree after having cooked the first one using a recipe for “Blackened Drunken Mullet.” After tasting that dish I have determined that one should probably be slightly inebriated before attempting to eat “Blackened Mullet.”  But, since the fish I caught today produced two very nice little fillets, I am going to try once again to dine on mullet.   This time I am going to use a recipe for Southern Fried Mullet that I took from the website of the Boggy Bay Mullet Festival which is held annually in Niceville, Florida (how could I go wrong)?

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