A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 78-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

I spent the first 9 -1/2 years of my life, and many summers after that, growing up on a small vegetable farm in “South Jersey;” the southern part of the state of New Jersey.  We grew sweet corn; lots of it – and after my family opened two farmers markets we leased our 16 acres to a farmer who continued to grow sweet corn; lots more of it!  This is what an ear of sweet corn looked like in the ’40’s and 50’s and ’60’s:

It may not be pretty, but it sure as hell was sweet!  I cannot begin to image how one of today’s shoppers would react if he or she started to strip an ear of corn in the supermarket and discovered WORMS.  OMG!.  But that is the way almost every ear of corn that was pulled from a cornfield (anybodies cornfield) way back then looked like.  We pulled the corn, husked it, took out a sharp knife and cut out “the bad parts,” and delivered it to Aunt Mary!  She boiled it in a big pot of water for about 8 minutes, then put it on a big plate in the middle of the table (quite often, in the middle of the kitchen table).  We gathered around the table; grabbed ears of hot sweet corn (sometimes Golden Bantam; sometimes Silver Queen), slathered them with lots of butter and covered them with salt and pepper.  Sometimes that’s all we had, or wanted, for dinner.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE WORMS?  They were almost completely destroyed by PYRETHROIDS AND Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis – a GMO laden with protein. 

WHY?  Because Corn Earworms are ugly. scary, creepy little wiggly things that NOBODY, I mean absolutely NOBODY wants to find in the food they are about to buy and take home.  SO . . . here is what mankind did to the tastiest sweet corn that ever grew:

HE INVENTED PYRETHROIDS and sprayed the corn.  What are pyrethroids, you ask?  Well, read what is printed here and tell me what you think about them:

Pyrethroids and Health Effects

Pyrethroids have irritant and/or sensitizing properties. They are not easily absorbed through the skin, but are absorbed through the gut and pulmonary membrane. Tests of some pyrethroids on laboratory animals reveal striking neurotoxicity when administered by injection or orally. Systemic toxicity by inhalation and dermal absorption is low. The acute toxicity, calculated by LD50’s, ranges from low to high, depending on the specific formulation. Low toxicity is attributed to two factors: limited absorption of some pyrethroids, and rapid biodegradation by mammalian liver enzymes (ester hydrolysis and oxidation). Insects, without this liver function, exhibit greater susceptibility to the chemicals (Reigart et al., 1999).

Pyrethroids interfere with the ionic conductance of nerve membranes by prolonging the sodium current. This stimulates nerves to discharge repeatedly causing hyper-excitability in poisoned animals. The World Health Organization explains that synthetic pyrethroids are neuropoisons acting on the axons in the peripheral and central nervous systems by interacting with sodium channels in mammals and/or insects. The main systems for metabolism include breakage of the ester bond by esterase action and oxidation at various parts of the molecule. Induction of liver microsomal enzymes has also been observed (WHO, 1999).

Signs and symptoms of poisoning by pyrethroids may take several forms. Because of the similarities to crude pyrethrum, pyrethroids may act as dermal and respiratory allergens. Exposure to pyrethroids has resulted in contact dermatitis and asthma-like reactions. Persons, especially children, with a history of allergies or asthma are particularly sensitive, and a strong cross-reactivity with ragweed pollen has been recognized. Severe anaphylactic (allergic) reactions with peripheral vascular collapse and respiratory difficulty are rare. Other symptoms of acute toxicity due to inhalation include sneezing, nasal stuffiness, headache, nausea, incoordination, tremors, convulsions, facial flushing and swelling, and burning and itching sensations. The most severe poisonings have been reported in infants, who are not able to efficiently break down pyrethroids (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). With orally ingested doses, nervous symptoms may occur, which include excitation and convulsions leading to paralysis, accompanied by muscular fibrillation and diarrhea (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). Death in these cases is due to respiratory failure. Symptoms of acute exposure last about 2 days.

Endocrine Disruption and Breast Cancer

Many pyrethroids have also been linked to disruption of the endocrine system, which can adversely affect reproduction and sexual development, interfere with the immune system and increase chances of breast cancer. Pyrethroids contain human-made, or xenoestrogens, which can increase the amount of estrogen in the body (Garey et al., 1998). When tested, certain pyrethroids demonstrate significant estrogenicity and increase the levels of estrogen in breast cancer cells (Go et al., 1999). Because increased cell division enhances the chances for the formation of a malignant tumor in the breast, artificial hormones, like those found in pyrethroids, may increase breast cancer risk (PCBR, 1996). Some pyrethroids are classified by EPA as class C (possible human) carcinogens.

Pyrethroids and the Environment

While the development of the synthetic pyrethroids was heralded with claims of selective toxicity to insects, both pyrethroids and pyrethrins are extremely toxic to aquatic organisms, including fish such as the bluegill and lake trout, with LC50 values less than 1.0 parts per billion. These levels are similar to those for mosquito, blackfly and tsetse fly larvae, often the actual target of the pyrethroid application. Lobster, shrimp, mayfly nymphs and zooplankton are the most susceptible non-target aquatic organisms (Mueller-Beilschmidt, 1990). The nonlethal effects of pyrethroids on fish include damage to the gills and behavioral changes.

Pyrethroids are moderately toxic to birds, with most LD50 values greater than 1000 mg/kg. Birds can also be indirectly affected by pyrethroids, because of the threat to their food supply. Waterfowl and small insectivorous birds are the most susceptible (Mueller-Beilschmidt, 1990). Because pyrethroids are toxic to all insects, both beneficial insects and pests are affected by pyrethroid applications. In some cases, predator insects may be susceptible to a lower dose than the pest, disrupting the predator-prey relationship. 

https://www.beyondpesticides.org/infoservices/pesticidefactsheets/toxic/pyrethroid.php

 And, since the Pyrethroids did not completely eliminate those yukky little worms that were shaking up the supermarket shoppers, man then created “Bt” or Bacillus thuringiensis.”  Sound better?  Then read all about Bt here:

Bt Crops Could be Monsanto’s Greatest Failure

This failure of Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the US, with billions of dollars at stake, because not only is Bt corn producing resistant “super-pests,” researchers have also found that the Bt toxin can indeed wreak havoc on human health.

Monsanto and the EPA swore that the GM corn would only harm insects. The Bt toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers, they claimed. But, once again, Monsanto’s claims turned out to be false. In 2011, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:8

  • 93 percent of pregnant women tested
  • 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies
  • 67 percent of non-pregnant women

The study authors speculated that the Bt toxin was likely consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that GM corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup, corn oil and other corn products. They also suggested that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are.

These shocking results also raise the frightening possibility that eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a sort of “living pesticide factory”… essentially manufacturing Bt toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis through the transference of the Bt-producing gene to your gut bacteria.

Is GM Bt Toxin in Your Body Right Now?

If you eat processed foods with any regularity, it’s highly likely that, you do have Bt toxin in your body. Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for many years, and biotech companies have therefore claimed that Bt-toxin has a “history of safe use in agriculture.” But there’s a major difference between spraying it on plants, where it biodegrades in sunlight and can be carefully washed off, and genetically altering the plant to produce it internally.

Remember this: the GMO Bt toxin is not sprayed on the plant, the plant is genetically altered to produce it in EVERY cell in the plant. It is simply impossible to wash off. And if you eat any GMO Bt crops, such as corn or cottonseed oil, you will most definitely have this toxin enter your body. Remember, it was never designed to be in your body and there have been no studies performed that confirm its safety in this setting.

Bt crops have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin cannot be washed off. You simply cannot avoid consuming it. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray. If Bt genes are indeed capable of transferring horizontally to the bacteria colonizing the human digestive tract, scientists believe it could reasonably result in:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Food allergies
  • Childhood learning disorders

Already, there’s plenty of other evidence showing that the Bt toxin produced in GM corn (and cotton plants) is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy, mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:9

  • Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
  • An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease to MS and cancer
  • Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis and connective tissue diseases

Rats fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes and white blood cells.10 These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver and kidney toxicity.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/10/monsanto-bt-corn.aspx

DARE YOU ASK “WHAT’S NEXT?”

Photo taken from www.pioneer.com

Photo taken from http://www.pioneer.com

Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement.

THE BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH

THE BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH

When you press the power button on your laptop all of the blue led quick lights light up, but all you get is a blank black screen. WHY?  WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE?

This happened to me about a month ago, and not knowing what this meant I went online and began many days of frustrating exploration.  I finally discovered a page that suggested a way to determine the cause of this problem.  The instructions were simple enough:  Turn your computer off. then simultaneously hold down the Windows key and the “B” key while pressing the power button.  If this works, you should here a “beeping” sound

(http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c03518165)

IT WORKED; my laptop beeped.  I heard 1 long beep followed by 2 short beeps, and this signal repeated regularly until I shut the computer down.  This article had a list of possible beeps and what they mean (you can Google “Beep Codes” to see the “Beep Chart” if necessary).  In my case, the beeping pattern suggested that my laptop had a bad graphics or video card.  NOW WHAT?

After more frustrating research I learned that the NVIDA graphics card was attached to the motherboard, and the whole damned computer would have to be dismantled to get to the problem.  Because of this, and because the laptop was now 8 years old with maximum ram of 1GB, I decided that this once awesome creature was no longer worth repairing.  I placed it back into its carrying case and placed in the back of a bedroom closet, where it should remain until I decided exactly how to dispose of it.  THEN I WENT OUT AND BOUGHT MYSELF A NEW MUCH MORE POWERFUL DESKTOP PC.  (I would have preferred to buy another notebook, but they cost twice as much as a desktop with all of the power that I programs that I wanted).

However, I really liked that old laptop computer; it cost me a lot of money then, and long before vehicles were being sold with built-in WIFI I had equipped my car with a converter that would allow me to plug in the laptop so that it could be used in case of power failures (like, maybe, during a hurricane) and purchased an adaptor that would enable me to watch TV on it.  So . . .I pulled it back out of the closet and began more frustrating research.

This time I learned what might have caused the possible failure of my video graphics card – it might be attributable to the computer having once overheated, causing the solder that connected the card to the motherboard to melt (or something to that effect), thus separating the card from its source of power.  One of the recommended remedies to this situation was heating the computer hot enough to enable the solder to melt again and reattach itself to the motherboard.
(http://www.computercorrect.com/2011/hardware/laptops/blank-black-screen-fix-for-hp-laptops/)

While it sounded like a pretty dumb idea to me, I decided to attempt this repair by following the recommended procedure – removing the battery, plugging in the AC power supply, and wrapping the computer in a heavy towel.  After leaving the unit wrapped in a big Turkish towel for several hours, I removed it and attempted to restart it.  NOTHING HAPPENED, so I put it back into the closet.

After a couple of weeks, I decided once again to attempt the “heat wrap” repair, but this time I turned the power on, closed the lid, and placed the computer – are you ready? – into an insulated WALMART FOOD STORAGE BAG and sealed it shut.

BAKING MY LAPTOP

BAKING MY LAPTOP

2+hours later, I extracted the computer from the insulated bag, placed it on a stand, opened it and pressed the power button.  The button was so hot it almost burned my finger, but the computer began immediately to boot up.  The HP logo appeared and was soon followed by the Window Logo.  Once the laptop finished booting up and the regular screen appeared I reset the time and date (an important 1st step upon restoration of a computer), ran a virus scan, downloaded 30 days of updates, and went to bed.  That was yesterday (actually about 1:30AM this morning).  I was afraid to shut the computer down before retiring, so I simply reset the screen display to shut off after 30 minutes; then locked the screen and closed the lid.  When I got up this morning, the computer was fully operational and had received more updates.

IT'S BACK!

IT’S BACK!

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a learned computer repair person.  I am, in fact, a 78-year-old geezer that is awed by the endless information available over the Internet.  I am also an avid photographer and a casino-type (free) games player.  I do not want to encourage anyone who has the “Black Screen of Death” to attempt these repairs without understanding that they are doing so at their own risk (IE., I will in no way be responsible if you do this and destroy your computer or burn down your house)!!!

I would suggest that you read as much as you can about how to perform these procedures from much more knowledgeable computer technicians, geeks, and bloggers before trying this method of graphics card recovery.  I would also like to note that after reviewing my procedures and accomplishments, that in addition to having removed the battery and any peripheral devices and USB drives I should have removed the hard-drives (my laptop has two) before attempting to heat up my computer.  I GUESS I JUST GOT LUCKY!

“DEATH TO AMERICA” shouts the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

SUPREME LEADER OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

SUPREME LEADER OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN – Photo by EPA

(http://nypost.com/2015/03/23/irans-supreme-leader-screams-death-to-america-amid-ongoing-nuclear-talks/).

WHY should the Ayatolla Ali Khamenel, the head of state and highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic republic of Iran (Wikipedia) be given over $100 BILLION dollars, especially when “We have no ability to constrain Iran if they want to spend all $100 billion on funding Hezbollah or other terrorist organizations,” he warns. “But when you’re getting a $100 billion-plus cash windfall, even if you’re spending 5 to 10 percent of that only on the regional activities and your support for terrorism, that’s an extra $5 to $10 billion dollars-plus,”  says Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.   Well I believe that this is exactly what will happen if the Nuclear Deal is approved and the sanctions against Iran are repealed!

 

(http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/07/16/423562391/lifting-sanctions-will-release-100-billion-to-iran-then-what)

Congress now has less than 60 days to Disapprove the Nuclear Deal with Iran.  If President Obama vetoes the Disapproval, Congress will then need at least a 2/3 vote to override the President’s veto!

28Baltimore2-SS-facebookJumbo

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/us/baltimore-freddie-gray.html?_r=0

I am saddened and deeply concerned about the rioting that is happening in Baltimore, Maryland, today,  A lot of people – especially the Blacks and African Americans – say it is caused by the Racial Targeting of blacks by white American policeman, but I think that is not the real reason.  I think the problem lies much deeper than that.

On September 23, 1951, I was living and going to school in Miami, Florida, when the Carver Village Apartments were bombed by white supremacists acting under the dictator ship of the Klu Klux Klan (http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/tequesta/files/1990/90_1_02.pdf ).  As this article states, Catholic Churches were also reported to be targeted by the KKK, and the burning of crosses took place randomly around the city and outlying areas.

http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/tequesta/files/1990/90_1_02.pdf

Bombing of Carver Village Apartments, Liberty City, Miami , FL 9/3/1951

 It was an ugly time to be living in Miami.  I was 14 years old then, and often had to ride the Miami-Dade public transit system.  All the bus drivers were white in those days, and they carried revolvers in their cash boxes.  Signs posted and facing the entrance doors of the buses clearly stated that “Blacks” had to move to the rear of the bus.  If any black person tried to sit anywhere in the front 2/3 of the bus, the driver would stand and order that person to move to the rear.  If he or she made no effort to do so, the driver would open his cash box, pull out his revolver, and order that person to move to the rear or get off the bus.  One day I actually saw a very frustrated bus driver fire a round into the floor of the bus during this process.

Prior to moving to Miami I went to school in the southeastern part of New Jersey, in a small rural farming and fishing village.  Our neighbors represented many races and I went to school with Black, Hispanic, Italian, Irish and Japanese children.  It never occurred to me then that any person should be separated from others because of his or her race or religion.  But when my mother married my stepfather and moved me to Miami, we lived in an all-white neighbor and I went to an all-white school.  However, in those days no one used the term “Racial Targeting.”  What was happening then was just pure racial discrimination!

In 1960, while living in Miami, I married a lovely young Hispanic girl.  A few months later, I was notified that I was about to be drafted, so I voluntarily joined the US Army and took my basic training at Ft. Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina.  Upon completion of my basic training, my wife joined me and we rented an apartment in Columbia.  One day, upon returning home from the base, I discovered my wife in tears.  When I asked why she told me that she went into town to see a movie, and was not permitted to enter the movie theater because she was black.  SHE WAS NOT BLACK!  While living in Miami we both spent a great deal of time at the beach, and she was simply a well-tanned Latin lady (although labeled a “Caucasian,” I was almost as dark as she was from having spent many hours out in the sun with her).  HOWEVER, AND AGAIN – THIS WAS NOT RACIAL TARGETING, IT WAS JUST PURE RACIAL DISCRIMINATION.  (I was actually quite surprised when she told me how she had been treated.  Men representing many different races and religions were housed together in the barracks at Ft. Jackson; we trained together,  ate together, played together, and bathed together without any obvious signs of discrimination, but in town, where the white women shopped, it was a different story.

About a year after the Baltimore Riot of 1968, I drove through the city of Baltimore with my mother.  Viewing the aftermath of those riots, the empty streets, boarded up shops, and vacant buildings with broken glass windows was unsettling to say the least.

Fire gutted buildings remain in 1969. Baltimore Sun

Fire gutted buildings remain in 1969. Baltimore Sun

Baltimore-Vert-Alley-1-1969

http://johnvanhornphoto.photoshelter.com/image/I0000ND3C5vlF0Is

  We were fortunate in that we did not need to stop for food or fuel because we would have certainly been afraid to get out of the car in that hostile environment.  Once again, the riot was not caused by Racial Targeting, but the out-and-out result of Discrimination.

Truthfully, I do not think that I had ever heard the words “RACIAL TARGETING” until George Zimmerman was accused of “targeting” Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Since that day, it seems to me that the words Racial Targeting are heard in the news on TV, or appear in print in our newspapers, almost daily now.

The BLACK LIVES MATTER RIOTS RACE that started in Baltimore on Saturday (April 25, 2015) protesting the death of Freddie Gray remind me of the riots that took place in  Watts, California, during August, 1965.  There are many similarities (http://crdl.usg.edu/events/watts_riots/?Welcome) In both cases peaceful protesting turned into extreme violence with burning and looting and tremendous property damage.   To me, the people who cause the destruction of property – the burning and looting – are not protesters, but criminals looking for booze and drugs and electronics; bad people taking advantage of the true mourners of the death of their loved ones.  I do not believe that these rioters have any interest in resolving the problems of what many consider Racial Profiling or Racial Targeting. 

In any case, I have become interested in trying to determine why there seems to be an increase in the incidents that lead to the charge of Racial Targeting.  My research leads me to believe that Blacks or African Americans are not being targeted by local white policeman, but that the cause is a matter of numbers  – percentages of total population, poverty levels, crime statistics.  The 2013 US Census indicates that Whites represent 78.4% of the total population; blacks or African Americans = 13.0%, and all others = 8.6%. (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html).  However, while the number of Blacks or African Americans living in the US is estimated to be 13.0% of the total US population, those living below the poverty level represent 25.8% of our total population (http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr11-17.pdf).  According to the FBI, 9,014,635 cases of crime were documented in 2013.  68.9% were allegedly committed by White Americans, 28.3% were committed by Black or African Americans (double their percentage of total population), and 2.8% were committed by persons of all other races.  Finally, the FBI states that 868,693 crimes were committed in 2013 by persons under the age of 18.  Of these crimes, 63,0% were allegedly committed by Whites; 34.3% were committed by Blacks or African Americans, and 2.7% by all others (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-43).

You may all draw your own conclusions, but based on all of the statistics that I have compiled here, it certainly appears that the disproportionate percentage of Blacks or African Americans living below the poverty level here in the United States, and the disproportionate percentage of those same peoples committing crimes – especially those under the age of 18 – dictates that more Black or African American peoples will noticeably be arrested by White members of law enforcement at any given time and place.  In addition there appears to be a great discrepancy between the number of Whites employed in law enforcement vs. the number of Blacks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/14/racial-imbalance-exists-all-across-local-governments-not-just-in-police-departments/), consequently more Whites have to be arresting more Blacks on any given date or time.

CONCLUSION:  Something must be done to reduce the number of Black or African Americans living below the poverty level.  Improving education, better and more diverse employment, and subsequently better wages and better living conditions, should help a great deal to reduce the crime rates and alleged incidents of Racial Targeting.

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!!!

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